PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – A man who hid a woman’s body in her apartment after she died of an accidental drug overdose has been sentenced to 40 days in jail and 200 hours of community service.
Clayton Lamont Howard, 56, hid 59-year-old Neta Mangum’s body with clothing, plastic totes, and a mattress after her death, investigators said. Law enforcement launched an investigation after Mangum’s family reported her missing.
Howard used Mangum’s cellphone and pretended to be her while sending text messages to her family, according to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office. Her family said they knew someone was using her phone based on the style and substance of the messages.
Police contacted Howard on March 22 and said he was in possession of Mangum’s phone and other personal items, including her bank cards and jewelry, the attorney’s office says.
Investigators said Mangum died March 21 in the 15800 block of East Burnside. Howard was unanimously convicted last month on charges including two counts of abuse of a corpse in the second degree.
According to the district attorney’s office, Howard and another woman had sex on the mattress that covered Mangum’s body after her death. The other woman was unaware of Mangum’s death or the location of her body, according to investigators.
During trial, Howard testified that he did not call 911 after finding Mangum’s body because his parole officer had previously ordered him not to have contact with Mangum. He said he feared he would be arrested if law enforcement found him inside her apartment.
During that same testimony, Howard confirmed he has prior felony convictions for rape in the first degree, robbery in the first degree and burglary in the first degree, according to the attorney's office.
In court Tuesday morning, Howard was also sentenced to participate in substance abuse evaluations and any recommended treatment, have no contact with the victim’s family, and to two years of formal probation. He must also pay $400 in fines.
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