Houston area serial rapist sentenced, assaulted women at gunpoint

Erique Howard was sentenced to prison for a string of sexual assaults committed between 2020 and 2022, according Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg.

The 28-year-old, referred to as a serial rapist by the Harris County District Attorney's Office, was found guilty of raping a woman on May 5, 2022 and handed a 50-year sentence.

"This defendant made plans and followed through with those plans to violate and assail*t numerous victims," Ogg said. "This was not a one-time crime, and we are proud that a Harris County jury saw the evidence and understood that this man should not be allowed on the street."

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Howard's trial lasted six days and according to officials, the victim was approached while filling her gas tank when Howard forced her to drive to a secluded area and sexually assaulted her at gunpoint.

Afterward, the woman reported the crime, and the Houston Police Department collected evidence in a medical exam, including DNA.

It was revealed she was one of several women Howard raped in Houston’s Pleasantville neighborhood over two years. Those other women also called police and underwent medical examinations to collect DNA, which was analyzed by the Houston Forensic Science Center.

Erique Howard (Courtesy of Harris County District Attorney's Office)

An evading arrest by the Jersey Village Police Department allowed authorities to collect Howard’s DNA, which matched samples from the rapes, leading to his arrest.

During the trial, jurors heard testimony from DNA technicians and a victim who recounted being sexually assaulted at gunpoint. The evidence led to Howard’s conviction on two counts of aggravated sexual assault and armed robbery. At least four other women were prepared to testify during the punishment phase about similar attacks by Howard. The first-degree felonies carry a punishment range up to life in prison.

"He chose to be a predator near his home in Pleasantville because he knew how to hide in the woods in that area and he knew where to take the women to commit his crimes," Assistant District Attorney Steven Harris said. "If he had his way, he would still be hiding in those woods."

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Another prosecutor in the case, ADA Savana Hooper, noted Howard’s behavior began after he would arrange online meetings with women and progressed to sexual assaults at gunpoint in remote locations.

"It’s shocking because he’s so young and his actions were rapidly growing in severity," Hooper said. "He was going to keep doing it, and it was going to keep getting worse."

Howard must serve at least half of the sentence before he will be eligible for parole.