Ashe Trucker Receives 20 Years for 2008 Assault
For the first time since being assaulted during a long distance truck driving trip by Robbie P. Howell in November 2008, Deanna Walters released a statement Tuesday afternoon following her attacker's sentencing.
Howell was sentenced to 20 years, 10 months imprisonment and five years of intensive probation following his release during a hearing at the U.S. District Courthouse in Statesville. He will receive credit for time served.
He was convicted in August for kidnapping and interstate domestic violence charges that stemmed from a November 2008 truck driving trip when he beat Walters on multiple occasions.
"It actually went better than I expected and I am very pleased with the outcome," said Walters who read a victim impact statement prior to Howell's sentencing.
Stacey Cox, a court advocate case manager for A Safe Home for Everyone, has provided assistance to Walters throughout the ordeal. To her knowledge, this is the first domestic violence case from Ashe County that has reached the federal level.
The November 2008 beatings spanned several state lines and did not stop until Oklahoma authorities stopped the truck they were traveling in.
"The sentencing went to the higher end and he received more than what was recommended," said Cox.
According to the official criminal complaint Special Agent Michael D. White of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Howell took Walters and a two-year-old child after Halloween trick-or-treating and forced them to accompany him on a long distance truck driving trip to California with him and his cousin, John Howell.
On the trip, Howell burned the victim with a lighter, hit the victim in the face and chest with his hands and beat the victim in the head, knees and legs with a Maglight flashlight.
At one point during the abuse, Howell threatened to push Walters from the moving truck.
The beatings didn't cease until a traffic stop by Oklahoma authorities on Nov. 6, 2008 following a report from the trucking company Howell worked for of two unauthorized passengers in his truck.
Patrol Deputy Spencer Davis of the Caddo County Sheriff's Office, who conducted the traffic stop, described the victim as "severely beaten with most of her body swollen and bruised."
In a future edition, Walters will talk more in-depth about the impact of the ordeal and what Howell's sentencing means to her now.