By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Magistrate denies bond in Gum Branch killings
howard escort
Jason Howard walks out of the hearing room in the Liberty County jail Wednesday, escorted by LCSO Capt. Dennis Davis. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon
Two days after arriving back in Liberty County, murder suspect Jason Howard appeared before Magistrate Judge David L. Aspinwall III and was denied bond in a brief hearing at the Liberty County Regional Jail Wednesday morning.
Howard is charged with two counts of felony murder for allegedly killing his mother and stepfather, Mildred and Jewel Cleveland, at their Gum Branch residence in March 2004.
Howard was brought back from Bibb County Monday afternoon after spending roughly two weeks in jail in Macon. Macon Police arrested him for allegedly breaking into cars at an Enterprise Rental store on March 27.
Police say he gave a false name while being booked, but his fingerprints verified his identity and the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office was quickly notified.
Capt. Dennis Davis said he was happy Howard was finally in custody and said the real work is about to begin as the state prepares to make its case against Howard.
The case was cold for five years.
Howard was on the run much of that time, but LCSO Chief Deputy Keith Moran and detectives believe he lived at his parents’ house for about a month after the elderly couple were killed. He apparently cared for the family pet and tended to the home’s maintenance.
At first, friends and relatives believed the Clevelands were traveling, as they frequently did.
Police have not said exactly when or why Howard went on the run, but deputies were alerted by a family friend in May 2004 that something was amiss after she received an anonymous letter asking her to check the house and bring a deputy with her.
Later, cadaver dogs were brought to the house and the bodies were discovered.
Howard has been featured several times on America’s Most Wanted. Producers of the show visited the sheriff’s office on Tuesday and with the Macon Police Department as they prepare to air his capture.
Sign up for our e-newsletters