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Man who helped burn,hide Melissa Barto’s body accepts plea deal

November 12, 2019 News Extra

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James Howard-George of Butler, charged in homicide of Melissa Barto.

This is an excerpt from a larger article that will appear in Wednesday’s Butler Eagle. Subscribe online or in print to read the full article.

A Butler man pleaded guilty Tuesday to helping burn and hide the body of a woman who was murdered by his friend in 2017.

James Howard-George, 26, testified two weeks ago during the murder trial of Ishemer Ramsey that he helped Ramsey hide and burn 26-year-old Melissa Barto’s body.

Ramsey was convicted of first-degree homicide and other charges and is awaiting sentencing.

On June 12, Barto’s partially burned body was found by a farmer in a field in Lawrence County. Howard-George’s testimony helped solidify Ramsey’s murder conviction, according to Assistant District Attorney Terri Schultz, who prosecuted both cases.

Howard-George’ agreed to plead guilty to charges of abuse of corpse and tampering with evidence, both misdemeanors.

In return, Schultz agreed to drop a charge of conspiracy to commit criminal homicide that Howard-George originally faced for his part on the day of June 8, 2017. Schultz presented the plea deal before Judge Timothy McCune.

The plea deal calls for a jail sentence of time served to 18 months.

This is an excerpt from a larger article that will appear in Wednesday’s Butler Eagle. Subscribe online or in print to read the full article.

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