One minute, juveniles and adults were enjoying a party at a home in Little Rocky Run. The next, three intruders forced their way in — one, wielding a machete.
The party was held last summer, but last week in Fairfax County Circuit Court, the machete-carrying man pleaded guilty to burglary and abduction of a juvenile. He is Cody Ramon Howard, 20, of 9451 Lee Highway, Apt. 1214, in Fairfax.
THE INCIDENT occurred Aug. 16, 2003 and, in an Aug. 27 affidavit to seek evidence in Howard's apartment, Fairfax County Police Det. Earl M. Bowers described what happened. He wrote that the party was in the 5900 block of Wildbrook Court and, around 12:30 a.m., three men forced open a rear, sliding-glass door of the home.
"One of the men was armed with a machete or similar large knife, the other two with firearms," wrote Bowers. "The three men forced the partygoers onto a couch and demanded money, drugs and cell phones. One of the men physically held a machete to a victim's throat forced him into a dining room, and told him not to move."
Bowers said the men searched the house, taking two cell phones and fleeing. In the ensuing investigation, the police developed Howard as a suspect. "Howard was known to several witnesses as the suspect armed with the machete," wrote Bowers. "A photographic lineup was shown to one of the witnesses. Mr. Howard was positively identified as a participant using the machete.
POLICE EXECUTED a search warrant at his apartment, Aug. 27, 2003, and seized a butcher knife, a kitchen knife, 21 rounds of ammunition plus a box of .22-caliber bullets, a pipe and four cell phones. They arrested Howard on Sept. 3, charging him with burglary, attempted robbery and abduction of a juvenile. The grand jury later indicted him on all three charges.
Last Tuesday, May 4, in Circuit Court, the attempted robbery charge was dropped, and Howard pleaded guilty to the other two offenses. Judge Michael McWeeny then set his sentencing for July 2. Burglary is punishable by as much as five years in prison, and abduction carries a possible penalty of 10 years behind bars.