Teenage murder suspect has trial date pushed back


By J Swygart - [email protected]



Na’Zier Howard, the Lima teenager charged in the the 2019 murder of Kevonta Cowan, on Monday waived his right to a speedy trial and saw his trial pushed back until at least September.

Na’Zier Howard, the Lima teenager charged in the the 2019 murder of Kevonta Cowan, on Monday waived his right to a speedy trial and saw his trial pushed back until at least September.


J Swygart | The Lima News

LIMA — The trial of a Lima teenager charged with the 2019 murder of Kevonta Cowan has been pushed back until at least September.

Na’Zier Howard, 19, appeared in Allen County Common Pleas Court on Monday and waived his constitutional right to a speedy trial at the recommendation of his attorney. Allen County Public Defender Kenneth Sturgill said several facets of the case are being discussed with prosecutors.

Howard’s jury trial, originally scheduled for May 31, has been tentatively rescheduled for Sept. 6.

According to court records, Lima police were called on the evening of Dec. 17, 2019, to 225 S. Kenilworth Ave. and found Cowan suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. He was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Howard, a juvenile at the time, was taken into custody in connection with the shooting.

Howard was initially charged in Cowan’s death by a grand jury in October of last year after his case was bound over from Allen County juvenile court. The charges were temporarily dismissed due to a technicality that was made necessary by a recent Ohio Supreme Court ruling governing the binding of juvenile court cases over to adult courts.

Howard was re-indicted by the April session of the grand jury on charges of murder, aggravated murder and having weapons under disability in connection with Cowan’s death.

The teenager is currently housed at the London Correctional Institution where he is serving a 14-year prison sentence for his role, along with fellow juvenile Juan Freeman, in armed robberies at two local businesses in 2020.

Monday had initially been scheduled as a suppression hearing on a motion filed by Sturgill in April in which he asks the court to rule on the admissibility at trial of handwriting samples obtained from Howard while he was in the custody of the Allen County Juvenile Detention Center.

In his motion, Sturgill said the “state’s seizure of these documents without judicial authority violated both federal and state law, and the state’s attempted use of them against the defendant in a criminal prosecution violates the defendant’s right to due process guaranteed by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.”

He cited the federal Family Educational Privacy Act, which restricts the release of student education records to persons other than the student’s parents and provides specific procedures that third parties must follow to gain access to these records. While being held at the county juvenile detention center, Howard’s educational needs were being fulfilled by the Allen County Correctional Center and were being funded through Lima City Schools.

Sturgill said the school district receives federal funding and therefore is subject to federal student privacy restrictions. He claims the state illegally obtained Howard’s handwriting samples.

That and other issues are expected to be raised at a pre-trial hearing for Howard scheduled for June 13.

Na’Zier Howard, the Lima teenager charged in the the 2019 murder of Kevonta Cowan, on Monday waived his right to a speedy trial and saw his trial pushed back until at least September.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2022/05/web1_NaZier-Howard-5.16.22.jpgNa’Zier Howard, the Lima teenager charged in the the 2019 murder of Kevonta Cowan, on Monday waived his right to a speedy trial and saw his trial pushed back until at least September. J Swygart | The Lima News

By J Swygart

[email protected]

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