71 Year Old Ohio Preacher Convicted of Road Rage
71-year-old College Hill preacher was convicted Monday of aggravated menacing for pointing a gun and cursing at a female driver who cut him off in a June 23 road-rage incident.
Thomas Howell, founder and preacher at First Commandment Church of the Living God in East Walnut Hills, was convicted Monday of the first-degree misdemeanor by Hamilton County Municipal Judge Brad Greenberg.
Howell was driving his car from his College Hill home to his church the morning of June 23. He turned at the intersection of Burnet and Forest avenues when, he testified, a car cut him off.
The other car was driven by April Evans, a cook at two local restaurants.
She testified the preacher pulled up alongside her car, pointed a gun at her, called her a name and asked if she knew who she was messing with before threatening to shoot.
The cars chased each other through parts of Clifton, Avondale and Walnut Hills.
"Every time I get in back of him, he would pull the gun out on me and point it towards me and whatever," Evans testified at Monday's trial.
"He said, 'You don't now who I am,' called me another (name) and said ... 'I'll shoot you.' "
Angry, she followed Howell's car. When it stopped by his church, she ran into a hardware store across the street and called 911.
When police arrived, Howell told them he had a gun - it was in a holster strapped to his hip - and he had a permit to carry it.
Howell denied to police and at Monday's trial that he ever pointed his gun at her. In fact, he said he never removed it from his holster that day.
Then how, the judge wondered, did Evans know that Howell - a man she'd never met before - had a gun.
"I think that the only reason Ms. Evans would know that (Howell) had a gun in the vehicle is that he pointed it at her," the judge said in finding Howell guilty.
Howell faces up to 180 days in jail when he is sentenced Sept. 4.
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