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RALEIGH, N.C. — A search warrant has revealed that a North Carolina man charged with his wife’s murder confessed to the killing when arrested by police in Galax last year.
According to a report by Raleigh TV station WRAL, Sonny Howard admitted to the crime just moments before Galax officers found his wife’s body in the back of his pickup truck.
Howard, 42, of Wake County, N.C., is charged with first-degree murder in the May 23, 2012, death of his wife, 50-year-old Sherry Howard.
Investigators in North Carolina issued a search warrant last week for Sonny and Sherry Howard’s cell phones. The results were released on June 27.
Wake County sheriff’s investigators used Sonny Howard’s cellphone signal to track him to Virginia after neighbors called 911 to report that they saw him loading what appeared to be a body into his truck.
The Galax Police Department spotted his green pickup later that day and pulled it over at the intersection of East Stuart Drive and Stockyard Road. Galax is about 160 miles from Howard’s home.
The warrant states that, when Galax police pulled him over, Howard got out of the truck immediately and told them he had killed his wife.
Howard is still awaiting trial for first-degree murder. Wake County Sheriff’s Department Capt. James Stevens said Howard remains in police custody, held without bond in the Wake County Jail.
Few details have been released about the case, other than information provided by search warrants.
Investigators filed a warrant for the cell phones because Howard told police after his arrest that he spoke on the phone with family members on the night of his wife’s death and while he was traveling to Virginia, according to the warrant.
Another warrant revealed that investigators from Galax and Wake County who searched Howard’s Ford F-250 pickup truck found a notebook open to a page with this message: “I love you much, I’m sorry.”
They also found in the truck a set of keys covered with blood, four bottles of prescription drugs, an empty firearm holster and eight boxes of various ammunition.
The hunt for Sonny Howard was launched after a neighbor reported seeing him covered in blood on the morning of May 23, 2012, with what appeared to be a dead body in the yard.
The neighbor told the police dispatcher that Sherry Howard had been “panicky” the previous night. The couple’s son indicated to investigators that his parents had domestic-related issues and had a dispute the night before Sherry Howard was killed.
Investigators have not disclosed a motive for the killing, nor have they said how or where Sherry Howard died.
In Galax, Howard is charged with being a fugitive from justice.