Boyfriend of Texas Cheerleader Who Died Last Halloween Has Been Charged With Murder

Mark Howerton has been charged with the murder and sexual assault in death of Texas cheerleader Cayley Mandadi after dating her for four weeks.

The case of the Texas cheerleader who was found dead last Halloween may finally have come to a resolution.

Mark Howerton, once described as a "person of interest" in the death of 19-year-old Cayley Mandadi, has turned himself in and was charged with first-degree murder and first-degree sexual assault. 

The 22-year-old Howerton had reportedly known the Trinity University cheerleader for eight years and was dating her for four weeks before the incident occurred, according to People. On October 29, 2017, Mandadi was brought to a hospital in Luling, Texas. She was nude from the waist down and had bruises on her neck and high area. She was also unresponsive and was pronounced brain dead the next day.

Last Wednesday, an arrest warrant affidavit obtained by the San Antonio Express-News was issued for Howerton, which also detailed his statements about his girlfriend's death the previous year. 

Howerton and Mandadi partied at the Mala Luna Music Festival in San Antonio during Halloween weekend, where Howerton said that the couple consumed ecstasy and alcohol, according to the documents. On October 29, the couple allegedly argued after Mandadi saw her ex-boyfriend. Howerton claimed that they further discussed the situation in his car, where they later had "consensual rough make up sex" after pulling into a gas station in San Antonio. 

This is when the story turns darker. Howerton said in the affidavit that Mandadi allegedly told him that she was not feeling well before falling asleep in the front seat without putting her clothes back on. When he noticed that she was not breathing, he started performing CPR before driving to the hospital. 

However, a medical exam at the hospital did not match up with Howerton's "rough sex" description, according to police, and instead noted "physical and violent sexual assault" because Mandadi's injuries included "head to toe" red marks as well as bruises and scratches. 

This may not have been the first violent incident between Howerton and Mandadi, according to an affidavit obtained by MySanAntonio.com. Mandadi's friends described her fear of her boyfriend and hearing of a previous incident in which Howerton slammed her head against a car window. 

Despite the arrest, Howerton's attorney is hopeful for his client. 

"Mr. Howerton is ready and eager to vindicate himself in court," said John Hunter in a statement made to KSAT. "He’s innocent of the charges, and he’s doing the right thing. If someone has a warrant out for his arrest, then he needs to turn himself in." 

His bail has been set at $225,000.

(Image via Smith County Jail)

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