ST. LOUIS – A man accused of a St. Louis murder in 2018 has been locked up ever since, but he has not had his day in court until Friday.

It was not a trial but a motion hearing where the public defender accused the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office of failing to prosecute.

“It just seems like the system is broken,” said Daniel Howard.

He said he had lost track of how many hearings he had gone to in the hopes of finding justice for his murdered friend Gregory Stevens.

“We just wanted this man and the evidence to be presented in a day of court,” Howard said.

He said he has been waiting four years and still has not seen or heard it.

The defendant, Charl Howard (no relation to Daniel), has been locked up in the St. Louis City Justice Center for Stevens’ murder since 2018 on no bond.

“Whether he did it or not, I don’t know,” Daniel said. “That’s not for me to decide.”

The victim had allowed several homeless people, including the defendant, to stay in tents on his property. When they had a falling out, Daniel said his friend then reported being fearful.

“I’m so biased, having been with a man (Stevens) who told me not once, not twice, but three times this man was going to kill him,” Daniel said.

He said he would also like to know more about a possible alternate suspect the defense mentioned in court, someone who was with the defendant on the day of the murder.

“We all want answers, and that’s all we’re asking for,” Daniel said.

Public Defender Brian Horneyer told the judge to dismiss the case against Charl, saying in part, “…a key part of their investigation, an interactive website in which GPS data central to this case can be … analyzed, no longer exists.”

“The raw data still exists. That’s evidence,” said Chris Desilets, assistant prosecutor. “The website is no longer available, but the pieces are. It’s not like a fingerprint is gone.”

The defense also told the judge that they filed for a ‘right to a speedy trial,’ adding that ‘prosecutors did not show up to a hearing in May.’
The state asked the judge to consider ‘COVID and past unavailability of the courthouse,’ adding that “there was a good reason for each delay.”

Judge Bryan Hettenbach said he will decide by next week, likely based on the defendant’s June filing for a speedy trial, now about two months past the deadline.

Daniel said he feared the judge may have no choice but to dismiss.

“It’s disparagingly sad that it’s come to this point,” he said.