Retirement community resident tells her side in Barbara Howe murder case

Published: Jan. 23, 2015 at 5:00 AM EST
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Daniel French (Photo provided)
Daniel French (Photo provided)

BUTLER COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - A retirement home community resident spoke out for the first time about a phone call she received, a phone call similar to one that Barbara Howe received before she was murdered by Daniel French.

The first details of the brutal murder of Howe were released on

, more than two years after she was found dead inside the trunk of her car.

French, 56, allegedly entered Howe's residence at the Mount Pleasant Retirement Complex in a ruse that her medical emergency alert system needed repair.

Phyllis McDaniel, 78, a resident at Mount Pleasant Retirement Village in Monroe appeared in court Thursday to tell about a phone call she received on Oct. 28, 2012 at 7:28 p.m. from a man who claimed to be with maintenance.

"The caller said that he was calling from maintenance and that there was a problem with my lifeline, and he would like to come check it," McDaniel said.

"I'm in bed.' I said no. I said, 'It will have to wait until tomorrow,'" said McDaniel in her deposition.

Once inside, documents state French used a stun gun on Howe before slitting her throat multiple times, causing her to bleed to death.

Grand Jurors found French planned to rob Howe and that he killed her "for the purpose of escaping detection," documents state. He allegedly took cash and a diamond ring from the residence before putting Howe's body in the trunk of her car.

French worked at the Monroe retirement facility and confessed to killing her after his arrest last month, according to a motion filed by the Butler County Prosecutor.

He has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges including aggravated murder and abuse of a corpse. If convicted, French could face the death penalty.

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