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Former soldier had history of violence against women, say police

By Kathy Jefcoats

kjefcoats@news-daily.com

JONESBORO — An Atlanta man who served his country in Afghanistan and Iraq has a history of violence against women dating to 2005, said prosecutors in court Wednesday.

Thaddeus Octavious Howell, 41, is charged with battery under the Family Violence Act, simple battery, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He is being held in the Clayton County Jail. He took the stand Wednesday and denied intentionally hurting the alleged victims.

His parents, Willie and Shirley Howell, also testified for their son Wednesday. His mother suffered a stroke Dec. 26, 2011, and painfully made her way to the witness stand using a cane and escorted by her husband.

Shirley Howell struggled to reach for memories and form the words she needed to defend her son.

"The stroke affected my speech, walking and some of my memories," she said.

Howell admitted under cross-examination by Clayton County Assistant District Attorney Brian Ross that she made three-way calls to her son's current or former girlfriends when he called her from jail.

"I always asked them if they wanted to speak to my son," said Shirley Howell. "They always said 'yes.'"

Senior Assistant District Attorney Michael Thurston pointed out to Willie Howell that such contact violated bond conditions when his son was charged with attacking the women.

"He's 41 and when he's not in jail, he lives with you and your wife, right?" said Thurston. "Wasn't it a condition of his bond that he have no contact with Lauren Halloway? He hit her in the head with a pistol."

Willie Howell denied that his son ever asked him to make a three-way call to a girlfriend from jail. However, he did admit to seeing the swollen face of another girlfriend Thaddeus Howell allegedly beat, Andrea Hill Cooper.

"I saw the swelling in her face," he said. "But I didn't see any marks on any of the others."

Willie Howell also testified that he would not have allowed his son to have a weapon inside the family home.

Thurston and Ross presented evidence that Howell previously beat former girlfriend Angela Moore in December 2005 in Columbus; Andrea Hill Cooper during 2007 in Atlanta; Coritha "CC" Scott in East Point in 2010; Halloway in 2012 in Forest Park and Dawn Cloud in December 2010 in Clayton County.

Scott took the stand Wednesday and identified photos of herself after Howell allegedly hit and kicked her in the face.

"This is me in the back of an ambulance," said Scott quietly but firmly. "My nose, lip and eyes are swollen. He kicked me in the face after he hit me and I fell to the ground."

Scott said the two met on Facebook and video-chatted while Howell was stationed in Afghanistan for a couple of months before he came home. They had an in-person relationship for about a month before the attack, she said.

Closing statements are expected to begin Thursday morning in Judge Geronda Carter's courtroom.