Editor's note: Some of the crime described in this story is graphic, viewer and reader discretion is recommended.
OLATHE, Kan. – Triple homicide suspect Brandon Howell spent 12 years in prison for kidnapping and assault in Johnson County, Kan., among other things. The mother of one of his victims spoke only to FOX 4 about that crime and Howell's latest arrest.
Dianne Remfert knows Howell all too well. She sat through every day of his trial in 2000 for kidnapping and assault, among other crimes. Her son was a witness and a victim. Remfert said she and her son found out that Howell was out of prison when they watched the news Wednesday.
"My son sent me a text and said, ‘mom, that was Brandon Howell that murdered those three people and injured the others, what the ‘F’ is he doing out? What's going on?’" Remfert said.
Remfert says she, nor her son, were notified that Howell had gotten out of prison after he served 12 years for kidnapping and assault. Remfert's son, Justin Keller, was one of his victims in that 2000 crime.
Remfert said Howell and his co-conspirators kidnapped, robbed and assaulted Keller, his friend and their girlfriends in their Gardner, Kan. apartment. Howell kidnapped Keller and his friend at gunpoint, took them on a ride to commit another robbery, and the two of them got away. When Keller returned to the apartment, he found it ransacked and worse.
"Took their cat and decapitated it. Threw its head out in the backyard off the balcony and hung it from the light fixture in the living room,” she said.
Remfert said law enforcement officials were so concerned for the victims’ safety in that 2000 case that they made them leave town after the crime and during the trial, only returning to town to testify. She said her son was supposed to be notified if and when Howell got out, and she wants to know why the Kansas Department of Probation and Parole did not tell them Howell was back on the streets.
Remfert said her terror from the 2000 crime came flooding back when she heard that police think Howell is responsible for the murders and assaults on Woodbridge and at a Platte County Motel 6.
"Oh, I started crying, what, three people, three innocent old people had to die for what? Because this spoiled brat wanted a car. A vintage car. He has not thought for anybody but himself. He is very selfish, he is very controlling, he is very manipulative. He's evil, he's pure evil,” Remfert said.
Howell is being held without bond in the Jackson County Detention Center, he's due back in a Jackson County courtroom on September 25.