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JURY CONVICTS MAN, 50, IN SHOOTING DEATH OF HIS GIRLFRIEND

A State Supreme Court jury convicted Roosevelt Howard of murder and weapons charges Thursday for shooting his girlfriend in the head last November at the front door of his home.

Howard, 50, showed no emotion as the verdict was announced shortly before 3 p.m. after two hours of deliberation.

Justice Mario J. Rossetti sent Howard to jail pending his Dec. 6 sentencing. He faces a mandatory prison term of at least 15 years to life and at most 25 years to life.

Howard told the jury he accidentally shot Andrea Page, 26, at about 8 a.m. Nov. 19 with a .22-caliber rifle as she knocked on the door of his home at 32 Sanford St.

But homicide prosecutor Christopher J. Belling called two witnesses who testified that Howard seemed upset with Ms. Page and apparently had been arguing with her that morning. The witnesses said they had come to Howard's home, which he admitted using as a drug "smoke" house, shortly before the shooting to see if drug users there needed any drugs.

Howard, who never has been arrested on drug charges, told the jury he never dealt drugs. He said he merely operated what he called "smoke" houses to provide a place where crack cocaine users could take drugs they had purchased elsewhere.

After the shooting, Howard fled, and Ms. Page's body was discovered on the floor in the front hallway. Authorities never recovered the murder weapon.

After Howard was arrested Dec. 12 in a Jewett Avenue home, Ms. Page's mother, Shirley Boston, demanded that police also arrest a half-dozen people she claimed were in the "smoke" house at the time of the shooting.

Authorities say there was no evidence linking anyone else to Ms. Page's murder.

Joseph J. Terranova, Howard's lawyer, said his client will appeal.

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