Suspect confessed to murdering 87-year-old, documents state

Suspect confessed to murdering 87-year-old, documents state

MONROE, OH (FOX19) - A suspect in the murder of Barbara Howe confessed to killing the 87-year-old, according to court documents.

Daniel French, who worked at the Monroe retirement facility where Howe resided,

last week with aggravated murder.

Documents state French, 56, made three calls the night of Oct. 28, 2012 to residents at the Mount Pleasant Retirement Complex stating he needed to repair their medical emergency alert systems. French planned to then enter homes “for the commission of robbery,” according to court documents.

Officials found Howe's body on Nov. 1, 2012 inside the trunk of her car.

“The examination of her home shortly after October 28, 2012 revealed that her Alert system was placed in the “away” mode contrary to her habit when she was at home,” read a motion from Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser.

The prosecutor filed the motion to collect a deposition from another resident of Mount Pleasant Retirement Complex who also received the fake call.

Howe's official cause of death has not been released.

French was extradited from Kentucky to Butler County before being arraigned on Tuesday for charges of aggravated murder, robbery, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse. Officials say he could face the death penalty if convicted.

The Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser argued that French should be held without bond Tuesday but Judge Jennifer Muench-McElfresh decided to set his bond at $5 million.

Judge Muench-McElfresh also revealed Tuesday that, at the time of the murder, she was working with the Butler County Prosecutor's Office. While she believes she can still rule on the trial, Judge Muench-McElfresh said she did want the defense attorneys to be aware. There will be another hearing concerning that issue on Thursday.

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