Sheriff: Couple's 6-year-old daughter was at home when man shot wife to death

Sheriff: Donaldsonville woman murdered, husband arrested
Published: Jul. 21, 2014 at 7:39 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2014 at 10:01 PM CDT
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Scene of the crime (Source: WAFB)
Scene of the crime (Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)

DONALDSONVILLE, LA (WAFB) - Deputies with the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office say a Donaldsonville man has been arrested after his wife was found shot to death Monday morning.

It happened on Maginnis Street. When deputies arrived, they found 27-year-old Shella "Shay" Howard shot to death. Jaris Howard, 31, was arrested and charged with second degree murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Deputies responded to the residence after the Sheriff's Office received a call at 10:09 a.m. Monday morning from someone who said that Howard called and said that he had just killed his wife. When the deputies arrived on scene, they entered the home and found Shay dead in her bathroom.   She had been shot several times.

At 10:21 a.m., deputies received information that Howard was at a relative's home in Donaldsonville and arrested him there. The couple's six-year-old daughter was at the location where Howard was arrested and had been at their home when the murder occurred.  Officials say she told investigators that her parents had been in an argument the previous night and that she heard the gunshots that killed her mother but did not witness the murder.

The sheriff's office first reported that Howard had no criminal history, but then sent information saying he has an extensive criminal history. His record shows he's been arrested 11 times since 2000 on various charges including weapons violations, robbery, and narcotics charges.  He was convicted of drug charges in 2000 and 2010 and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in 2010.

Deputies say they responded to a domestic disturbance at the Howard residence for a domestic disturbance in April.  At the time, the couple was separated and living apart. Shay called to report that Howard had come into the home while she was sleeping and left before deputies arrived.  Officials said no violence occurred, but they suggested that Shay get a temporary restraining order.  However, there is not record of a restraining order.

He was booked into the Ascension Parish Jail. No bond has been set.

This case is still under investigation at this time. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office at 225-621-INFO (4636) or by texting 847411 or Crime Stoppers at 225-344-STOP (7867).

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