Felon held in weekend Minneapolis fatal shooting had prison time cut

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 17, 2014 - 11:25 PM

On supervised release for killing a woman during a police chase in 2000, Rico Howard was arrested in a killing over the weekend.

Rico P. Howard

Photo: Minnesota Department of Corrections, Minnesota Department of Corrections

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A man under supervision of state corrections officials for killing another driver while fleeing police in 2000 was arrested Sunday in one of two recent Minneapolis homicides.

Police said they nabbed Rico Howard, 59, who lives in north Minneapolis, as he was about to skip town.

He is accused of fatally shooting Kenneth Madison, 53, of Minneapolis, in the abdomen about 11:40 p.m. Friday at a home in the 2700 block of Blaisdell Avenue S.

Howard was arrested at the downtown Minneapolis bus station “while attempting to flee the state,” said police spokesman John Elder. Howard has yet to be charged and is being held without bail at the Hennepin County jail.

Authorities have not disclosed a motive for the killing, but relatives of the victim said the two men had a history that included a previous argument and dating the same woman. Family members said they rarely encountered each other in public, however, because of frequent jail sentences.

“They go back,” said Madison’s oldest son, Isom English, of Minneapolis.

Nearly 14 years ago to the day, Howard was fleeing Minneapolis police in a car and caused a two-vehicle crash that killed Jenni Stebleton, 28, of Minneapolis, and seriously injured a man in the vehicle with her. He was ultimately imprisoned for fleeing police and causing death and great bodily harm, and being a felon in possession of a gun.

Initially, Howard pleaded guilty to second-degree felony murder and was sentenced to nearly 23 years in prison, a term that would have had him incarcerated until at least 2016.

But the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled in a separate but similar case that the wrong statute was applied. Howard withdrew his murder plea, and was given a shorter sentence. He was released from St. Cloud prison in late 2011 and put on intensive supervised release that expires at the end of this month.

His criminal history in Minnesota also includes several other felony convictions for assault, weapons possession and illicit drug crimes, according to court records.

Madison also had a lengthy record of drug-related crimes and convictions, and was only recently released from jail following a drunken driving conviction, English said. He was working as a cashier at a gas station in south Minneapolis and had appealed to his ex-wife for leniency on overdue child support so he could regain his driver’s license and earn a higher-paying job.

English said he hadn’t spoken to his father in two years, but on Friday evening had tried to reconnect with his father. He went driving along 4th Avenue and past his workplace, but didn’t find him.

At 5 a.m. Saturday, he learned his father had been killed.

No arrest in other killing

There has been no arrest in the Saturday killing of a 46-year-old woman along E. Franklin Avenue between 4th and 5th avenues. Nanette M. Haghi, who had no permanent address, was stabbed in the chest about 2:20 a.m. and died less than 90 minutes later at the Hennepin County Medical Center, according to the medical examiner’s office. Police have not addressed a motive in that killing as well.

In addition to the homicides, a man was wounded after being shot in the torso about 4 a.m. Saturday following an apparent argument near a Cub Foods on the North Side. The man was in his car and three shots were fired from another car, police added.

The victim pulled over and called 911, then was taken to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale for treatment, police said, but his injuries don’t appear to be life-threatening.

 

Staff writer Jeremy Olson contributed to this report. Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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