Hower’s previous behavior can be admitted

Allegations that accused murderer Wayne Brent Hower sexually abused his daughter and violently beat a puppy can be admitted at his trial later this month according to a judge’s ruling in Kitsap County Superior Court on Friday.

“Every act of the defendant is considered relevant — that is the law of the state,” said Judge Leila Mills, unswayed by his defense attorneys’ objections and finding that a list of six prior “bad acts” by Hower can be presented in court by the prosecution.

While arguing for their relevancy, Deputy Prosecutor Kelly Montgomery said prior episodes, such as Hower “brutally” beating a puppy, threatening to shoot an acquaintance and breaking into his parents’ home at least four times, showed the defendant had a history of violence.

“Dr. Pogos Voskanian (will testify) that the defendant’s shooting of Al Kono was an isolated act of violence due to increased stress,” Montgomery said, explaining that the state intended to show that not only was the crime not Hower’s only instance of violence, but that he was violent when he was angry, not when under stress.

The other past incidents included Hower’s ongoing marijuana use and an investigation by the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office into allegations he sexually abused his daughter in 1995, episodes Montgomery said would speak to the defendant’s credibility.

She said during a traffic stop in 1999 and in other dealings with law enforcement, Hower, 45, denied or downplayed his drug use, yet during interviews with his treatment providers at Kitsap Mental Health he admitted chronic usage.

When confronted with the allegation of sexual abuse, Montgomery said the defendant at first denied the contact, then later admitted to sleeping next to his daughter and getting on top of her, but blamed the actions on “the voices in his head” and said he ultimately resisted them and pulled back.

“It all comes down to the defendant’s credibility, and whether you believe he heard voices in his head telling him to shoot Al Kono. If you don’t believe that, then he’s not insane,” she said, explaining that the “defendant has a poor history of credibility, because when he is in peril or did something unlawful, he does not tell the truth.”

Montgomery went on to say that when a defendant claims insanity, everything is fair game, because every act can be used as either evidence of a person’s sanity or insanity.

In arguing against the deeds being presented at trial, Defense attorney John O’Melveny said given the length of time that passed between the alleged events and when the witnesses were interviewed, the veracity of their accounts were suspect.

In addition, he said the incidents would prejudice the jury against his client.

“If there is anything that sets off most Americans, it is cruelty to animals,” O’Melveny said. “None of these events go to credibility. Their purpose is to influence the jury so they’re simply not going to like this person.”

Mills disagreed, ruling that for all six incidents she felt the evidence showed they likely occurred, they were material and were not unduly prejudicial.

In particular, she said the child molestation allegations were “very material to this case,” since it involved the defendant “talking of voices telling him to do this, and goes to the defendant’s state of mind.”

Today, Mills is expected to rule on a defense motion to limit the testimony of the prosecution’s mental expert, Park Dietz.

That motion seeks to block him from presenting theories that marijuana abuse exacerbates schizophrenia symptoms.

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