Troy Howell enters courtroom for sentencing May 7.
A Glen St. Mary man who operated a marijuana grow house was sentenced this week to 7.5 years on drug and child abuse charges, the latter related to imprisoning his 18-year-old nephew.
Troy Edward Howell, 31, was living with the victim, his juvenile niece and another juvenile nephew at a residence on Crews Road while running the grow house inside a second home on the property.
There investigators recovered nine zip lock bags of processed pot buds, 96 pot plants, hydroponic stations, chemicals, fertilizer and a 16-gauge shotgun, according to police reports. Investigators also noted razor wire and infrared surveillance cameras on the property when they arrived in October 2011, responding to allegations of child abuse by the niece, who spoke on behalf of her uncle at the sentencing hearing before Circuit Judge Mark Moseley the afternoon of May 7.
She said she loved Troy Howell and didn’t want him punished harshly.
“His intentions were good,” she said. “His actions were a little bit out of hand. Some people just get a little too aggressive and it happens. Things just happen. I love him to death and I want to see him.”
Troy Howell’s two sisters and the defendant’s mother also asked for leniency, saying he was “a good man” and he only chained up his eldest nephew to keep him from running away and taking drugs.
After the hearing, his sister Shannon Smith, the mother of the two youngest children, said her family’s been torn apart by the case.
“It’s a hard situation,” she said. “Brandon [the child abuse victim] is my son. Brandon was doing a lot of wrong things. And Troy is my brother. It’s been a very hard thing to deal with. So it is what it is, and we’ll make it through it. I just want to put my whole family back together. That’s all I want.”