Man charged with 11 sex crimes wanted after skipping trial date

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 5:29 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 29, 2023 at 9:26 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - A Brewton man who is charged with 11 sex crimes including rape, sodomy and sexual torture is wanted after skipping his trial date on Tuesday, according to officials.

Branden Lee Howell, 36, was arrested in 2019 and charged with six counts of sodomy, two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of child sex abuse and one count of sexual abuse, according to jail records.

Mobile County District Attorney sent FOX10 News this statement:

“The DA’s office takes failure to appear in court very seriously. At this time, there is a warrant out for his arrest and a fugitive task force looking for him to execute that warrant.”

According to court paperwork, Howell is accused of having sex with two girls under the age of 12 multiple times between 2015 and 2019.

Court records show that Howell’s trial was set to begin Tuesday morning in Mobile, but he did not show up. His bond requirements did not include any kind of monitoring.

A bench warrant was issued for Howell’s arrest and a judge ordered he be held on no bond when he is apprehended, according to authorities.

Mobile County District Attorney’s Office said the reason it’s taken so long to get Howell to trial is because of many reasons, but mainly due to the pandemic. They said there was already a backlog before COVID hit, and following COVID, it only got worse.