TACOMA, WA – On Friday, Joshua Howard, 26, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for attempting to kill his estranged wife at a Tacoma residence last year while their children were present. A jury convicted the defendant as charged and found aggravating circumstances, which allowed Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Angelica Williams to argue for the exceptional sentence.
“The Tacoma Police Department and Deputy Prosecutor Angelica Williams did great work on this disturbing example of domestic violence,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “Thanks to their commitment to the case, and assistance from Washington’s Most Wanted, the defendant was held accountable. This would have been a murder, but for the good fortune and strong will of the victim.”
On July 6, 2012, the defendant was at the victim’s home, where she lived with their four children in common and her four children from a previous relationship. The couple had recently separated. In fear of the defendant, the victim was preparing to leave the house with her children when he said “I love you but you got to die,” and pointed a revolver at her. He fired a round at her as she ran down stairs and out of the house.
The kids were on the front porch when they heard the gunshot. The ten-year-old hid her 10-month-old sister behind garbage cans, then fled to a neighbor’s house. The defendant chased the victim as she ran toward a neighbor’s house for help. The victim stopped when she saw the neighbor and the neighbor’s 7-year-old granddaughter standing in a bay window watching the incident. Not wanting to lead the defendant to a home where another child would be placed in danger, the victim dropped to the ground.
The victim’s 11-year-old son watched as the defendant pointed the gun at the victim’s head, the victim begged for her life, and the defendant pulled the trigger. Amazingly uninjured - the gun was only loaded with four bullets and had hit an empty chamber - the victim grabbed the barrel of the gun and took it from the defendant. The defendant fled the scene on foot. He eventually turned himself in to authorities after being featured on Washington’s Most Wanted.
Police investigators found a bullet hole at the bottom of the staircase. A check of the pistol’s serial number revealed it had been reported stolen. The defendant has three prior felony convictions and is prohibited from possessing firearms.
For more information, please contact Kelly Kelstrup at (253) 798-7792, [email protected].