Accused cheerleader killer called jealous, abusive, controlling

Mark Howerton on trial for slaying Trinity University coed Cayley Mandadi

Mark Howerton is on trial in connection with the slaying of Trinity University coed Cayley Mandadi. (KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – Just over a month before Mark Howerton allegedly beat his 17-year-old girlfriend to death, Trinity University police confronted him during a disturbance call inside her fifth-floor dorm room.

"The door opened at 561 and a male subject was exiting the room," Trinity University police Sgt. Roderick Lewis testified Thursday at Howerton's trial on murder, sexual assault and kidnapping charges. "He had his hands full of miscellaneous items, cords, keys, a backpack."

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From the hallway, Lewis said he observed broken glass scattered inside the room of Cayley Mandadi, a university cheerleader.

"The clothes had been thrown off the balcony out into the trees and to the ground below," Lewis said.

Medical experts testify in the trial of accused cheerleader killer

Lewis said Howerton, 24, told him he was in the room waiting for Mandadi.

"So you're in this room just waiting on her while she's at a party?" Lewis could be heard on his body cam video that was played for the jury.

"Exactly," Howerton answered.

In the video, Howerton seemed nervous when the officer asked, "You mind if I take a look in the room?"

"Naw, it isn't even my room," Howerton replied.

Prosecutors said Mandadi’s fellow students described Howerton as threatening, controlling and jealous. On Oct. 29, 2017, Howerton attacked Mandadi in his car during a trip to Houston, prosecutors said.

Nurse describes Cayley Mandadi’s injuries as murder trial continues

Medical experts testified that Mandadi died from blunt force trauma to the head and face, and that her body showed signs of sexual activity.

When Howerton was questioned by Texas Rangers, he said that the couple had rough, consensual sex.

Testimony is expected to continue Friday before Senior State District Judge Raymond Angelini in the 144th District Court.

If he is convicted on a murder charge, Howerton is facing a maximum punishment of life in prison.

About the Authors

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.

Misael started at KSAT-TV as a photojournalist in 1987.

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