No contest plea in East Grand Rapids cold case rape investigation

Posted at 6:21 PM, Apr 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-25 23:06:04-04

Jody Howland, courtesy Kent County.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The 52-year-old man who had his DNA matched to a 2001 rape case pleaded no contest in court Monday.

Jody Alan Howland, 52, entered a no contest plea to first degree criminal sexual conduct with personal injury.

Howland was arrested last summer in Macomb County on drug charges. State law mandated that Howland’s DNA be taken upon his arrest. His DNA samples were matched by the Michigan State Police Forensic Lab to a rape investigation involving a 23-year-old woman in East Grand Rapids in February 2001.

The law – which passed in January 2015 – requires DNA samples to be taken at the time of arrest of any person accused of committing or attempting to commit a felony.

His DNA was also matched two other sexual assaults in Texas, taking place in December 2003 and April 2004.

In February of 2001, an East Grand Rapids woman was assaulted early one morning while walking home from a neighborhood bar. The next day, another man was arrested for the crime and charged, but the case was dropped against him in March after his DNA didn’t match.

Howland is scheduled to be sentenced May 25.