To hear their family tell it, Charee Nichole Howard, 39, and Sherry Lynn Howard, 54, were loving sisters, but deputies now say the younger sibling apparently choked the elder to death.
“I know my nieces are good nieces,” the sisters’ aunt Debborah Howard told Tampa NBC affiliate WFLA. “I know how their mother raised them. They were like two peas in a pod, so what triggered this off, I don’t know.”
Cops in St. Petersburg, Florida, said that Charee Howard called 911 on Tuesday at approximately 3:26 p.m. to say she had just “killed” her sister. She said she had “choked” her, cops wrote.
“Officers responded to the incident location to discover the deceased victim laying on the floor just inside the front door,” police said. “The victim appeared to have injuries consistent with the defendant’s statements.”
St. Petersburg police spokesperson Ashley Limardo told Law&Crime that they are still waiting for the medical examiner’s report to show cause of death. Officers had no further information to provide on Thursday, including motive or what led up to the killing, she said.
Family reportedly suggested that mental health played a role.
“They say she hadn’t slept for three or four days and started hallucinating whatever it is, I ain’t no doctor,” the Howards’ brother Michael Hobbs told the outlet of his defendant sister. “She needs more attention than just being in jail.”
“Due to HIPPA, her status will not be disclosed,” Pinellas County Sheriff’s Sgt. Amanda Sinni told Law&Crime when asked if Charee Howard had been placed on a mental health hold or was being treated for an injury.
“She’s a good kid,” Debborah Howard said of her late niece. “I know she’s in heaven.”
Family reportedly described the sisters as very close. Sherry Lynn Howard, who worked in real estate, was like a mother figure to her younger sibling ever since their parents died.
“This is a sad, sad thing for us and a sad day,” Hobbs said.
Read the criminal complaint against Charee Nichole Howard, below.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]