On April 23, 2019, an Ascension Parish Jury found 36-year-old Jaris Howard of Donaldsonville guilty of Manslaughter in connection with the shooting death of his then wife, 27 year-old Shella “Shay” Thomas Howard, also of Donaldsonville. Howard was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Kenneth Dupaty, and presiding over this matter was the Honorable Judge Alvin Tuner Jr.
On July 21, 2014, deputies with the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office responded to a Donaldsonville residence in reference to a shooting. Upon arrival, deputies located Shella “Shay” Thomas Howard who suffered multiple gunshot wounds to her body. Shella was pronounced deceased on scene. Detectives learned that Jaris Howard, Shella, and their minor child were in the residence when Jaris shot Shella multiple times while she was getting dressed in the bathroom area of the residence. Following the shooting, Jaris traveled to a relative’s residence with the child. Jaris told relatives that he had shot Shella and she was dead. Deputies located Howard at his mother’s residence and transported him to the Ascension Parish Detention Center where he was interviewed. While traveling to the jail, Howard told deputies that he had killed his wife. Howard was subsequently booked on charges including 2nd Degree Murder.
Upon the jury rendering a guilty verdict in this matter, Judge Turner ordered that sentencing be deferred to a later date pending a Pre-Sentence Investigation.
On August 20, 2019, Howard appeared before Judge Turner for sentencing. Judge Turner ordered that Howard be committed to the Louisiana Department of Corrections for a period of 40 years with credit for time served. This is the maximum possible sentence for the charge of Manslaughter.