Dalton man who killed mom gets 34 years in prison

Published 11:26am Monday, September 17, 2012

The Dalton man who killed his mother with a machete in April 2011 was sentenced today to 34 years in prison.

James Francis Howard, 48, was convicted of second degree murder in the death of his mother, Barbara, 68, with whom he shared a home in Dalton. Court documents say that on April 23, 2011, Howard used a machete to hit his mother several times in the face and hands, causing serious brain injuries and mangled fingers. Barbara Howard died the next month.

Howard told emergency responders that he had been trying to put his mother out of her misery, as she was suffering from multiple diseases.

The lead-up to Howard’s sentencing has been a long one, with multiple mental competency evaluations and a last-minute (and still unexplained) delay of his sentencing in August. He pled guilty to second degree murder in June.

Howard’s total Commissioner of Corrections sentence was more than 34 years, but he must spend a minimum of two-thirds of that time imprisoned, about 23 years. In addition to his prison term, Howard was required to pay restitution to his family of $45,500.

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