Uncle discusses nephew’s behavior in Basin hate crime trial

Phil Drake

The uncle of a man accused of a hate crime for allegedly firing shots into the Basin home of a lesbian said Thursday that something had to really be bothering his nephew for him to do what he has been accused of doing.

An ailing Robert Aguirre, in a 50-minute taped deposition from January, fielded questions from prosecuting and defense attorneys about John Russell Howald, who is now accused of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and for allegedly using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence on March 22, 2020.

The federal indictment alleges Howald tried to injure a woman because of her “actual and perceived sexual orientation” by firing several rounds from his AK-47 rifle into her home, stating that he wanted to “get rid of the lesbians (and) gays.” The offense included an attempt to kill the woman, the U.S. Department of Justice stated. The trial began Tuesday in front of Judge Brian Morris in U.S. District Court in Helena. Howald was 44 at the time of his indictment in June 2021.

People are also reading…

View Source