MUSKEGON COUNTY, MI – The teen who stabbed a young pregnant mom to death after breaking into her home took the murder to a “vicious, savage place” when he also raped her, a judge declared from the bench Tuesday.
Muskegon County Circuit Judge Annette Smedley ruled Christopher Marks Howard committed first-degree murder when he killed Dominique DaShay O’Neal on June 24, 2015.
Howard had pleaded guilty to open murder Monday, and on Tuesday attorneys argued before Smedley whether the crime was first-degree or second-degree murder. Smedley said it was first-degree murder due to the fact the murder was committed during the commission of another crime, which was home invasion and possibly first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Also on Tuesday, Howard pleaded no contest to causing the death of O’Neal’s 23-week-old male fetus. Howard was 17 at the time of the attack.
Senior Assistant Prosecutor