mySA reports that Mark Howerton, 22, of Tyler, Texas, has been arrested and charged for the murder and sexual assault of 19-year-old Cayley Mandadi, a Trinity University cheerleader. Howerton was arrested on Wednesday after surrendering to the Bexar County Magistrate’s Office. His bail has been set at $225,000.
Howerton’s face circulated through social media for months, labeled “the face of a killer” due to previous alleged incidents aimed at Mandadi. However, he was never officially named a suspect until he was charged, and the judge who ordered an autopsy in the case did not rule the case was a homicide at the time.
Mandadi died after Howerton drove her to a hospital on October 29, telling authorities she became unresponsive while driving to Houston after the couple stopped to have sex. Court records state, however, that she in fact died from a violent beating.
Her body was covered with bruises and scratches, and her eyelids were swollen shut.
Howerton was Mandadi’s boyfriend for about a month. He claimed she passed out after having rough sex, but injuries discovered during the autopsy weren’t consistent with that explanation.
Howerton also had red knuckles and scratched arms while giving a statement to police.
Mandadi was transferred to a different hospital and died on October 31. On Wednesday, a judge issued a statement that her death was a result of blunt force injuries to her face and head, and it was considered a homicide.
During Howerton’s interview with police, he told them that the couple had been together at a music festival over the weekend and got into an argument after seeing her ex-boyfriend there. He then stated they stopped at a gas station on the way to Houston to have rough make-up sex and that she passed out. He continued to drive, but took her to the hospital when he saw that she wasn’t breathing.
*Photo credit mySA