Murder trial begins for Tyler man accused of killing Texas cheerleader

Crime

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (KETK) – The trial of a man accused of killing a Trinity College cheerleader has began.

Investigators say Mark Howerton killed Cayley Mandadi, 19, while they were traveling between San Antonio and Houston back in October 2017.

Body camera footage and dash camera footage, shown for the first time today, shows what Howerton told investigators the night he dropped her off at a hospital in Luling.

Back on October 29, 2017, Howerton told investigators he and Mandadi got into an argument at the Mala Luna music festival in San Antonio earlier in the evening.

They left the event and started driving toward Houston and at some point Howerton noticed she stopped breathing.

“So I looked at her like, ‘Cayley, Cayley,’ and I reached over and felt her throat and I didn’t feel anything,” said Howerton, in an interview with a Guadalupe County deputy. “That’s when I started freaking out.”

Howerton drove to a hospital in Luling.

Sharyl Lane, a paramedic who was on duty that night, testified that when she saw Mandadi for the first time, the 19-year old was almost naked and bleeding from below her waist.

“He’s hollering and screaming telling me that his girlfriend is not breathing and he needs help,” said Lane.

Howerton told investigators both he and Mandadi had been taking MDMA that day, a psychoactive drug more commonly known as ecstasy or molly.

“And her toxicology screening reflected a very high high dose of MDMA in her blood,” said John Hunter, Howerton’s defense attorney.

Investigators determined Mandadi died from head injuries as a result of blunt force trauma.

A Bexar County grand jury indicted Howerton on charges of murder, aggravated sexual assault and criminal mischief back in April 2018.

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