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Palmyra man, arrested on child porn charges, takes his own life

On Tuesday, August 6th, a 53-year-old Palmyra resident was arrested on out-of-state child pornography warrants.

Altogether Dennis J. Howell, 53, faced 20 counts of possession of visual pornography of a person less than 16 years old.

It was originally reported that Howell was taken to Centralized Arraignment and remanded to jail pending and extradition hearing on the Las Vegas warrants, according to the Times of Wayne County.

However, the Times of Wayne County reports that the Public Defender’s Office in Wayne County has filed paperwork, asking for a review of the case.

It’s due to the arrest and holding of Howell being based on a screenshot of the Las Vegas warrant; and not an officially signed document.

Public defender Andrew Correia told The Times of Wayne County that this case had zero percent to do with Centralized Arraignment. He stated the system is going well and efficiently, and that people who should be released are being released and the jail population is much lower.

Howell was held on $250 cash bail, which was posted. County Court Judge Daniel Barrett opted to set bail at $250 cash or $500 bond.

Upon release, Howell went to his home in Palmyra, called a nephew – stating that he had a loaded gun. That’s 911 was notified and first responders went to Howell’s home.

The Times reports that first responders were too late, though. Howell had taken his own life on Wednesday, August 7th.

Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts told the Times that this was not the first case like this one, but noted that with more changes coming to the bail system – getting help for those who need it could be difficult.

Sheriff Virts said one of the consequences of releasing so many of arrests under the state required system is that before, the Sheriff’s Office had time to evaluate people who were arrested and keep an eye on them, The Times reported. If services, or referrals to other agencies, such as Public, or Mental Health was required, the person arrested received help.

The Sheriff said that, as of January 1st, 2020, the new policies enacted by the State will allow even people arrested for such things as Assault in the Third Degree, Obstructing Governmental Administration, Resisting Arrest, will be automatically released, without centralized arraignment on appearance tickets.


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