Houston Man Sentenced to 50 Years for Serial Rapes

Houston Man Sentenced to 50 Years for Serial Rapes
Erique Howard

Erique Howard, 28, has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for a series of sexual assaults on women between 2020 and 2022, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced this week.

“This defendant made plans and followed through with those plans to violate and assault numerous victims,” Ogg said. “This was not a one-time crime, and we are proud that a Harris County jury saw the evidence and understood that this man should not be allowed on the street.”

Erique Howard, 28, agreed to a 50-year prison sentence after he was convicted in a six-day trial of raping a woman on May 5, 2022. Howard approached the woman while she was filling up her gas tank, forcing her to drive to a secluded area where he sexually assaulted her at gunpoint.

Afterward, the woman reported the crime, and the Houston Police Department responded and collected evidence in a medical exam, including DNA.

She was one of several women Howard raped over the course of two years in Houston’s Pleasantville neighborhood. Those other women also called police and underwent medical examinations to collect DNA, which was analyzed by the Houston Forensic Science Center.

In an unrelated incident, Howard was arrested by the Jersey Village Police Department for evading police, and a DNA sample was collected pursuant to that case.

Technicians at the Houston Forensic Science Center matched Howard’s DNA to samples taken from the rapes he committed, leading police to arrest him.

During the trial, which began earlier this month, jurors heard several days of testimony, including from DNA technicians. The jury also heard from another woman who said Howard raped her at gunpoint. The evidence led jurors to convict Howard of two counts of aggravated sexual assault and an armed robbery, for taking money from one of the victims. The first-degree felonies carry a punishment range up to life in prison.

At least four other women were prepared to testify during the punishment phase that Howard also raped them at gunpoint and even took money from them. Instead, he agreed to a 50-year prison sentence, which he cannot appeal.

Assistant District Attorneys Savana Hooper and Steven Harris, who are both assigned to the Adult Sex Crimes and Trafficking Division of the District Attorney’s Office, prosecuted Howard.

“He chose to be a predator near his home in Pleasantville because he knew how to hide in the woods in that area and he knew where to take the women to commit his crimes,” Harris said. “If he had his way, he would still be hiding in those woods.”

Hooper noted that Howard’s illegal behavior began with arranging meetings with women online and then raping them. Eventually, he began pulling a gun on strangers and forcing them to go to remote places.

“It’s shocking because he’s so young and his actions were rapidly growing in severity,” Hooper said. “He was going to keep doing it, and it was going to keep getting worse.”

Both prosecutors applauded the victims for being brave enough to contact authorities, going through medical exams to gather evidence and, when it came time to go to trial, agreeing to testify against Howard.

He must serve at least half of the sentence before he will be eligible for parole.