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Case of mistaken identity still lands man behind bars

POSTED 3-31-2010

MARBLE FALLS — More details emerged Wednesday in the case of a man arrested by lawmen who at first thought he was a federal fugitive.

Instead, it was a case of mistaken identity, but that still didn’t keep Randy Cornell Howard, 56, from going to jail Tuesday, police said.

Records show he was charged with possession of a dangerous drug and booked into the Burnet County Jail, where he was released later that day after posting a $2,500 bond.

The case began about 11 a.m. when police were dispatched to U.S. 281 at Second Street after U.S. marshals called and asked them to arrest a federal fugitive.

Marble Falls police Capt. Floyd Goodwin on Wednesday said local officers joined Horseshoe Bay officers, who had pulled over a man thought to be the fugitive.

Instead, a different motorist was inside the truck.

"The U.S. marshals had contacted the Horseshoe Bay Police Department and asked them to check a house where they had gotten info that a fugitive was staying," Goodwin said.

While a Horseshoe Bay officer was parked near the house in an unmarked car, a man drove off in a white truck, Goodwin said. The officer followed the man into Marble Falls, where the pickup was pulled over.

Though the man was not the one federal lawmen wanted, police said he was still detained.

"The occupant consented to a search of his vehicle, and (officers) discovered an unmarked pill bottle in a cupholder," Goodwin said.

Inside the bottle, officers discovered several prescription painkillers the driver claimed belonged to his father, according to police reports.

"He claimed the pills were his dad’s, but that his dad hadn’t used the truck in a while," Goodwin said. "The pills had been kept in the truck for two months."

Possession of a dangerous drug is a state-jail felony punishable by up to two years in a state jail and a fine not to exceed $10,000.

chris@thepicayune.com