Man accused in 2012 death Monroe woman, 87, pleads guilty to les - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Man accused in 2012 death Monroe woman, 87, pleads guilty to lesser charges

(Photo: Gordon Graham, FOX19 NOW) (Photo: Gordon Graham, FOX19 NOW)
Daniel French (Photo provided) Daniel French (Photo provided)
BUTLER COUNTY, OH (FOX19) -

The man accused of killing 87-year-old Barbara Howe in 2012 pleaded guilty to four lesser felony charges in Butler County court Wednesday.

Daniel French, 56, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, abuse of a corpse and tempering with evidence. He will be sentenced after his murder trial, which begins Monday, according to Judge Charles Pater. 

Police say Howe was abducted in Monroe while leaving the Mount Pleasant Retirement Village, where French had worked. Howe was found dead inside the trunk of her car on Nov. 1, 2012 shortly after she had been reported missing. Her 2005 red Cadillac STS was found at the Woodridge Park East Apartments in Middletown.

French was arrested and charged in December of 2014 with aggravated murder.

Prosecutors produced a confession tape where French said he only intended to rob Howe, but when he realized he'd killed her, he panicked and stuffed her body in the trunk of her car, leaving it in a Middletown parking lot.

"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.

French faces up to 26 years in prison for the charges he pleaded guilty to, but his upcoming murder trial could earn him the death penalty, officials said.

Jury selection in French's murder trial is scheduled to begin Monday and court observers expect the case to last at least two weeks.

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