By LeaAnne Klentzman
On September 14, 1989, Mina Ann Bomar was scheduled to meet her mother for dinner, but she never showed up. Two days later her naked and beaten body was discovered in an abandoned building in what was a remote area, near Dairy Ashford in Sugar Land. The case was never solved.
Then in December 2002, DNA from the crime scene was entered into a DNA database and matched to Richard Allen Howe, a prisoner at the Texas Department of Corrections. Howe has been in the custody of the state for other crimes since being charged with this case in 2002.
Jury selection for this case lasted months; however, just days after the trial began, Richard Allen Howe unexpectedly pled guilty to capital murder for a crime he committed in 1989, said Assistant District Attorney Mark Hanna, lead prosecutor in the case. During the trial, the state paraded in over 20 witnesses to testify about the death of Bomar as well as the other sexual assaults committed by Howe, after her death. Prosecutors also presented crucial evidence that the defendant’s DNA was found on Bomar’s body and his fingerprint that was found on a window at her home.
At the conclusion of the evidence, Howe changed his plea of “not guilty” to “guilty” and waived his right to appeal, said Hanna. So on March 1, 2012, in the 434th District Court, Honorable Judge Jim Shoemake sentenced Howe to life in prison. “The family seemed to be happy with the disposition. It gave them a sense of finality that a jury verdict would not because of the appeal process,” said Hanna. “They expressed an interest in hearing him say he did it, and the victim’s 93-year-old mother was able to get that peace so many years later.”
“The successful prosecution of this case would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of Sugar Land Detective Billy Baugh,” said Hanna. “Cold cases are notoriously difficult to prove, because the investigative leads are, in fact, “cold.” Detective Baugh did an excellent job of thoroughly investigating every issue and was instrumental in putting a complete case together for presentation to a jury.”
Robert Allen Howe will spend the rest of his life behind the bars of the Texas Department of Corrections.