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Trooper charged with stalking, assault

| June 6, 2014 9:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - An Idaho State Police trooper already on administrative leave without pay due to criminal charges in two counties now faces three more felony charges.

Trooper Daniel Howard, 48, was charged May 8 with first-degree stalking, aggravated assault and malicious injury to property. The new charges against Howard allegedly stem from Howard's reaction to learning his wife had been having an affair with their Athol neighbor, Matthew Wood.

According to a probable cause affidavit written by Det. Jerry Northrup, Wood and Howard's wife, Kendy, began their affair in late 2012. On March 3, 2013, Kendy told Howard about the affair and, after a confrontation at Kendy's workplace, she confessed that Wood was the man with whom she had been sleeping. This led Howard to a confrontation with Wood at his workplace and a string of allegedly retaliatory incidents.

"Damaging Wood's property with corn syrup, stealing his guns, stealing his mail, placing the anonymous letter in Wood's mailbox, placing the graffiti on his lawn, following him in a patrol car, pointing a rifle at him and even shooting his roof with a shotgun were done in a way to cause the most emotional damage to Wood but limit any physical evidence the perpetrator was Daniel Howard," Northrup wrote in the conclusion of the affidavit.

After Howard learned it was Wood, he reportedly confronted the man at work. During the confrontation, court records state Howard accused Wood of committing the "ultimate betrayal" and was "extremely agitated."

"Daniel Howard then ripped free a metal piece of Wood's desk and struck his laptop computer with it," the affidavit states. "Daniel Howard then shoved the metal piece and the computer at Wood."

The alleged harassment and property damage began shortly after the confrontation, with Howard accused of following Wood on multiple occasions in his patrol vehicle and stealing guns and mail. Wood eventually moved out of the Athol home and began living in Washington, "partially out of fear" of Howard. According to the affidavit, Wood would only return on weekends to do upkeep on the home.

In May of 2013, Wood told Northrup that he was working in his backyard when he saw Howard standing in the door of his shop pointing an "M-4 style" assault rifle at him. Wood said it was "apparent" that Howard was aiming the rifle at him, and he then went into his house and hid.

The harassment reportedly continued, with Wood stating that in August, Howard yelled at him while he was in his backyard doing maintenance.

"I don't know where you're at, but I'm going to find you and kill you, you (expletive deleted), you (expletive deleted) up my life; when you least expect it I will find you," Howard allegedly yelled.

The affidavit states Northrup had the opportunity to go to Wood's home several times in order to collect evidence and document the damage caused by the alleged bullet holes. With the evidence gathered, Northup obtained a search warrant for Howard's residence.

When the warrant was served, officers found stolen ISP ammunition and a fraudulent title for a motorcycle, which led to Howard being charged with crimes in both Kootenai and Bonner counies.

According to the affidavit, Howard was interviewed several times about the allegations against him.

"In one of his interviews by Kootenai County Sheriff's Office detectives, Daniel Howard told them Matthew Wood was alive only because Daniel Howard was allowing him to be," the affidavit states. "During this interview, Howard expressed mirth and was quoted as saying 'awesome' when he learned that the graffiti on Wood's lawn could be seen from Google Earth satellite imagery."

As of publication, there are no hearings scheduled in Kootenai County District Court for the stalking, aggravated assault and malicious injury to property charges. On June 19, Howard will be in Kootenai County District Court for his arraignment on charges related to the found ammunition and possession of poached deer.