SAN ANTONIO – A move to bar a retrial for a man accused of the murder of a Trinity University cheerleader has been denied by the Fourth Court of Appeals.
The ruling means the retrial can move forward.
In 2019, Mark Howerton’s trial ended with a hung jury. He was charged with the murder of 19-year-old Cayley Mandadi.
Howerton’s defense team last August filed a writ of habeas corpus “seeking relief from double jeopardy.”
The Fourth Court of Appeals last week ruled on the writ and denied the appeal.
Howerton faced murder, rape and kidnapping charges in the initial trial in December 2019. Jurors spent nine hours deliberating over two days if Howerton, Mandadi’s boyfriend at the time of her death, was guilty.
Back in 2017, Howerton told investigators that the couple stopped to have consensual sex while driving to Houston, and Mandadi stopped breathing. Medical experts testified that the teen died as the result of blunt force trauma to the head.
According to testimony during the trial, the couple had been dating but Mandadi was planning to end the relationship. Witnesses testified that Howerton was controlling and possessive.
Mandadi was a sophomore at the private San Antonio university and on the cheerleading squad at the time of her death.
There is no upcoming hearing date scheduled yet on this case.