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Bench warrant issued for man connected to Barto murder

December 13, 2019 News Extra

James Howard-George fails to appear for sentencing

A bench warrant has been issued for a Butler man connected to the burning and concealing of a body who failed to show up for his sentencing Friday morning.

James Howard-George, 26, pleaded guilty last month to helping Ishemer Ramsey hide and burn Melissa Barto's body, but didn't show up in court today to be sentenced for the crime.

“He should have been here, or he should have notified us,” Judge Tim McCune said as he issued a bench warrant for the man's arrest.

Howard-George previously pleaded guilty to charges of abuse of corpse and tampering with evidence. His plea deal called for a jail sentence of 18 months. McCune noted Howard-George signed off on his sentencing date last month.

Charles Nedz, his attorney, noted that his client was recently diagnosed with cancer. He had no other explanation for the absence to offer.

Read more in Sunday's Butler Eagle.