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Suspect in Chambers County slaying found in Las Vegas

James Howard is seen in this mug shot released by the Chambers County Sheriff's Office on Oct. 24, 2019.
James Howard is seen in this mug shot released by the Chambers County Sheriff's Office on Oct. 24, 2019. (CCSO)

ANAHUAC, Texas – A man accused of killing a Crosby bar owner and then leaving his body in a Chambers County home was arrested in Las Vegas.

James Howard, 69, of Houston, has been charged in connection with the slaying of 58-year-old Ralph Machala.

According to Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne, the Texas Rangers assisted deputies in tracking Howard to Nevada, where Las Vegas Metro police arrested him this week.

Howard has been brought back to Chambers County, where he is being held in jail on a bail of $1 million.
A realtor discovered Machala’s body Sept. 23 in a home she was showing to a potential buyer.

An autopsy revealed Machala, who owned Pooky’s Tavern, was shot once. 

Investigators said they believe Machala was killed somewhere else and then his body was dumped in Chambers County.


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