A Nocona man pleaded guilty to 11 counts of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon today at the Montague County Courthouse. Those eleven counts are from three separate cases. Ricky Dale Howard received 5 years behind bars on the 3 cases which he will serve concurrently.
The charges came about last April, when deputies and officers with the Montague County Sheriff's Office and the Nocona Police Department searched Howard's parent's home.
They were trying to locate missing teenager Caleb Diehl who worked part-time for Howard.
It's believed that Howard was one of the last people to have contact with Diehl before he disappeared. A search of a sheet metal shop located near the residence turned up a gun safe with several firearms inside.
Howard is not allowed to own firearms because of a 2007 conviction in federal court on felony charges of bank fraud. He was sentenced to 46 months in prison for that offense.
Montague County District Attorney Paige Williams tells us she feels today's sentence is appropriate because his underlying offense was bank fraud which is a white collar crime.
Investigators say Howard was also arrested last December by Cook County investigators in Munster on two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child. Investigators say the acts are believed to have occurred between 1996 and 2000.
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