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Mark Crisp Found Guilty in Howard Murder Trial, Sentenced to Life

By: Randy Yohe Email
By: Randy Yohe Email

UPDATE 10/21/10 @ 6:24 p.m.
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Mark Crisp has been sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for the murders of Amber Howard and her unborn child. Howard was eight months pregnant when she disappeared in 2007. Her remains were found a year later in a remote part of Scioto County.

The jury deliberated for about six hours Thursday before returning guilty verdicts on 7 of 8 charges. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty for Crisp because the case did not meet death penalty specifications.



UPDATE 10/21/10 @ 6 p.m.
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The jury has returned a verdict in the Mark Crisp murder trial.

Crisp was found guilty of murder and murder of the unborn child.

He was charged with 2 counts of murder, 2 counts of felonious assault, abduction, abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and being a repeat violent offender.

Crisp was found guilty on 7 of the 8 charges. The only charge he was not found guilty on was the abduction charge.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 10/21/10 @1:30 p.m.
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The jury now has the case of the man accused of murdering a young woman and her unborn child.

Mark Crisp is on trial for the murder of Amber Howard who was 7 months pregnant when she disappeared back in 2007.

Her remains were found a year later in a rural part of Scioto County.

In addition to the two murder charges, Crisp is also charged with assault, abduction and abuse of a corpse.

The jury got the case around 11:30 Thursday morning following closing arguments. The trial began Monday morning in Scioto County Common Pleas Court.

WSAZ.com has a crew at the Scioto County Courthouse, we'll get you that verdict when it comes down.



UPDATE 10/18/10 @ 6:45p.m.
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) – "Where’s Amber?"

That rallying cry back in 2007 sparked a community to search for a missing pregnant woman. Monday, more than 3 years later, the trial began for the man prosecutors say murdered Amber Howard and her unborn child.

Relatives told WSAZ.com that Amber and the defendant, Mark Crisp were just neighbors -- but Monday they said different -- her family testified that they were drug buddies.

The 21-year-old woman, 8 months pregnant, went missing in August 2007. Her remains were found in 2008.

Mark Crisp was charged with double murder in 2009 -- Monday, the trial began with some disturbing revelations.

Drinking, smoking marijuana and crack cocaine -- that is what Amber Howard’s mother Mary testified she was doing with her 21-year-old pregnant daughter, and the 48 year old defendant Mark Crisp, the night Amber disappeared.

Amber’s mother and grandmother also testified that Amber, a long time drug addict, and Crisp drove away from her home to get more crack -- and Amber was never seen again. But both women said later, when they confronted Crisp, he said he dropped Amber off.

“I said just tell me what you did with her, he said I dropped her off at the corner of Gallia and Offnere at a bar,” Grandmother Bonnie Bertram testified.

”He admits her was with Amber the night she vanished, that he was doing drugs with her -- but denies that he left with her," argued prosecutor Julie Hutchinson

The prosecution told the jury evidence, including DNA and blood gathered at the remote wooded site where the remains were found and in Mark Crisp's residence, would prove he committed a brutal murder.

Crisp’s attorney said no -- the evidence will show his client is innocent of the charges.

"The jury will see what really happened and when they hear and see the evidence, we believe they will come back with a not guilty verdict," Gene Meadows said.

Amber’s mother and grandmother testified that the young woman tried to hide her pregnancy while doing drugs, but they both knew. They also said Mark Crisp each told them two different places he dropped off Amber.

Mark Crisp is also charged with assault, abduction and abuse of a corpse -- but the charges did not meet the specifications for a death penalty case.

This double murder trial is expected to last through the week.



UPDATE 10/18/10 @11:00 a.m.
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) – Jury selection is underway in trial of the man charged with murdering a woman seven month pregnant.

Mark Crisp,49, of West Portsmouth, Ohio faces two murder counts in the death of Amber Howard and her unborn child.

Howard disappeared in August 2007. Family and friends conducted a massive search for Howard after she disappeared. Her skeletal remains were found in the Shawnee State Forest in April 2008.

A grand jury inducted Crisp for the murders in December 2009.

Besides the two murder charges, Crisp is also charged with felonious assault, abduction, abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence, and being a repeat violent offender.

Jury selection is expected to go into early afternoon Monday in Scioto County Common Pleas Court. The trial could last most of the week.



UPDATE 12/16/09 @6:00 p.m.
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) – While Amber Howard’s loved ones say they’re familiar with suspect Mark Crisp, they said they can’t understand how anyone could have killed Amber and her unborn child.

"I don’t understand how anyone can murder someone's mommy," said Bonnie Bertram, who is Amber’s grandmother.

Amber disappeared in August 2007. She was just 21 years old and was nearly eight months pregnant when she went missing. On Tuesday, a Scioto County grand jury handed down an eight- count indictment.

Among the charges against Crisp, a 48-year-old habitual criminal, were the murder of Amber and her unborn child. Amber left behind a son, Tyler, who’s now 4.

Bertram said the family has had overwhelming support from law enforcement officers and the community.

"A lot of people showed support when we put out those fliers," she said. "They found her body on her birthday when we were having a vigil in the park."

The two lead detectives from the city and county were emotionally involved in this case. One said that forensic evidence and a confidential tip helped lead to the charges against Crisp.

Bertram said some of the family and Amber knew Crisp -- that he was a neighbor and, as far as she knows, nothing more.

Besides the two murder counts, Crisp faces assault, tampering with evidence, abduction and abuse of a corpse charges.

Bertram and both their bosses praise the exhaustive team detective work of Jim Charles with the Portsmouth Police and Denver Triggs with the Scioto County Sheriff's Department.

We're told DNA analysis led directly to the indictment. Crisp will be served the charges in the Ross County Jail where he's serving time.



ORIGINAL STORY 12/16/09 @9:41 a.m.
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A man already in jail has been indicted in the murder of Amber Howard and her unborn child.

The Scioto County Prosecutor, Mark Kuhn tells WSAZ.com that Mark Crisp, 48, of West Portsmouth, is currently in The Ross County Correctional Institute on unrelated charges.

Howard, who was from the Portsmouth area, disappeared in August 2007. She was seven months pregnant when she was first reported missing.

In June 2008, detectives confirmed that bones found in the Shawnee State Forest in April 2008 were Howard’s.

Kuhn says Crisp was indicted on Monday by a Scioto County Grand Jury.

He is charged with 2 counts of murder, 2 counts of felonious assault, abduction, abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and being a repeat violent offender.

No word on a motive.

The Ohio Department of Corrections Web site says Crisp is incarcerated in the Ross County Correctional Institute in September on failure to comply and failure to appear on charges out of Scioto County.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for updated information.


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