Monroe woman's accused killer pleads guilty - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Monroe woman's accused killer pleads guilty

Daniel French (FOX19 NOW/file) Daniel French (FOX19 NOW/file)
French in court Wednesday. (FOX19 NOW) French in court Wednesday. (FOX19 NOW)
HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) -

Daniel French entered a guilty a plea to four felony charges on Wednesday related to the slaying of an elderly Monroe woman nearly three years ago.

French 56, is accused of killing Barbara Howe, 86. He pleaded guilty to all but one of the charges - capital murder. 

He could get up to 26 years in prison on the four charges, which include aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, tampering with evidence, and gross abuse of a corpse. French won't be sentenced until after his trial for capital murder, scheduled to start Oct. 19. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

In July, despite efforts from French's attorneys, a judge ruled that French was read his Miranda rights and knowingly waved them before giving a taped confession during an interview with investigators last December.
 
"I was trying to choke her out. I didn't mean to kill her. TV makes it look so G***** easy," French said to investigators.

The judge ruled that the confession is admissible in court.
 
French, who worked at the Monroe retirement facility where Howe resided, was arrested and charged in December with aggravated murder.

According to records, French 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.

French sat emotionless in the court room in July as his attorneys argued he was depressed, suicidal and coerced by detectives into giving that statement, but Common Pleas Judge Charles Pater ruled French was fully aware of what he was saying.
 
"Did he knowingly and intelligently and voluntarily give whatever information he gave in that setting and I determine that he did," said Judge Charles Pater.
 
In that confession, French said he only intended to rob Howe but, once he realized he had killed her, panicked and tried to destroy the evidence, even cutting Howe's hair, slicing her throat and stuffing her in the trunk of her own vehicle before dropping the car off in a Middletown parking lot.

French also says he saw Howe's ghost and apologized.

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