St. Louis man pleads guilty in connection with 1997 rape

Monday, October 15, 2007 | 5:12 p.m. CDT; updated 12:26 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 16, 2008

COLUMBIA — A St. Louis man pleaded guilty to statutory rape and second-degree burglary Monday and was sentenced to 11 years in prison for the 1997 sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl in her family’s southwest Columbia home.

Corrie D. Howlett, 37, was sentenced by 13th Circuit Court Judge Gary Oxenhandler to six years for the statutory rape charge and five years for the burglary charge. The two sentences will be served consecutively.

Howlett was implicated in the rape last year after he was required to submit a DNA sample to a statewide database as part of an unrelated probation agreement. After that sample was matched with one found on the victim, described in court as “M.D.,” Columbia police brought Howlett in for questioning.

During that interview, police said Howlett implicated himself and he was arrested. Howlett was originally charged with forcible rape and first-degree burglary but pleaded guilty to the lesser charges in an agreement with prosecutors.

Howlett lived in Columbia at the time of the assault, but was living in St. Louis when he was arrested. He was being held in the Boone County Jail.

A 2004 law requires a DNA sample be taken from every person convicted of a felony or sex crime. It also applies to people on probation or under state supervision. A bill was proposed in the Missouri House of Representatives in the spring to expand the requirement to anyone arrested in a felony case, but it did not pass this session.

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