Eric Siplin was surprised to learn Thursday that the man who was arrested at the scene of the crash that killed his mother is walking free and not currently facing charges in connection with her death.
According to jail records, 33-year-old Seneca Howard bonded out of the Orange County Jail late Christmas night after spending two days in jail.
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Siplin said Christmas was tough for his family this year as they cope with the loss of 89-year-old Sammie Lee Johnson. Johnson’s daughter, who was also in the car when the stolen vehicle Howard was driving went airborne and crashed on top of them, was seriously injured, according to the Orlando Police Department.
“Got to pick up the pieces, try to move forward. You know, I got a sister in the hospital with five broken ribs and try to console her and let her know things are going to get better, you know,” Siplin said.
Now Johnson’s entire family is trying to understand how Howard and Deonte Slaughter aren’t facing stiffer charges after the deadly crash.
“Their actions just done destroyed a whole family,” Siplin said.
Records show Slaughter was on pretrial release from a prior drug charge but that has now been revoked and he was denied bond due to the recent charge of grand theft auto.
He is also facing charges in Lake County after police say he was caught in a stolen car packed with stolen property in September.
Howard was found guilty in October for stealing a TV from Walmart. According to the public defender’s office, even though he was ordered months of prison time, he was given credit for time served.
Even though Howard has been charged with multiple felonies in Orange County, documents show the state attorneys did not have enough information to file on two of them and chose not to prosecute Howard on three more cases he was involved in.
News 6 is still waiting to hear from state prosecutors as to why that happened and why he’s not being held in jail for the deadly crash.