Jury selection set to begin in trial of man accused of killing Trinity University cheerleader

Mark Howerton originally went to trial three years ago for the murder of Cayley Mandadi but it ended in a mistrial.

SAN ANTONIO — Jury selection is set to begin in the retrial of the man accused of killing a Trinity University cheerleader.

Mark Howerton originally went to trial three years ago for the murder of Cayley Mandadi but it ended in a mistrial.

This case is headed back to a courtroom Monday after a jury couldn’t come to a decision in 2019 on whether to convict or aqcuit Howerton.

He was accused of being manipulative and violent toward the 19-year-old cheerleader.

The original incident happened in October of 2017.

Howerton told investigators they were both on their way home from the Mala Luna Music Festival when they stopped to have sex at a gas station.

He says after, she fell asleep and began to snore.

When she stopped snoring, Howerton checked her pulse.

That’s when he says he drove her to the closest hospital in Luling where she was pronounced dead.

Investigators say Mandadi’s injuries were consistent with sexual assault and her final cause of death was ‘blunt force trauma.’

During the previous trial, the state says Mandadi tried to break up with Howerton.

They also say Howerton had possessive and controlling tendencies.

In one text message exchange, it showed Howerton threatening to kill himself when Mandadi told him she needed space.

He then proceeded to call her 200 times.

The defense says Howerton didnt kill Mandadi, and the state has no evidence to show he did. 

If convicted, Howerton faces between five to 99 years in prison.

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