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Assault fugitive caught in Idaho

Suspect allegedly attacked wife in front of three children


A man Beaverton police sought in connection with a brutal assault of his estranged wife and her boyfriend on Oct. 6 in Beaverton was arrested Friday in Hagerman, Idaho.

Following a complex investigation involving the Beaverton Police Department and numerous law enforcement agencies, Phillip Howells, 30, was taken into custody and arrested around 5:30 p.m. Friday at a cafe in Hagerman.

Facing charges on felony warrants for attempted murder, second-degree assault and first-degree burglary, Howells is in the Gooding County (Idaho) Jail awaiting extradition back to Oregon, said Officer Mike Rowe, Beaverton police spokesman.

Howells’ arrest is the culmination of a joint operation involving detectives from the Beaverton Police Department, U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force, the Gooding County Sheriff’s Office and Hagerman Police Department in Idaho.

Police have searched for Howells since the morning of Oct. 6, when he fled the scene of a home invasion and assault on Southwest Main Street. Police said Howells burst into the home of April Hinderer, Howells’ then-estranged wife, and brutally assaulted her and her live-in boyfriend with some type of blunt object.

Howells’ and Hinderer’s three children, who were home at the time of the attack, were not physically injured.

Hinderer and her boyfriend were treated for numerous abrasions and puncture wounds and released from Oregon Health and Science University Hospital on Oct. 8, two days after the assault.

With an intricately patterned gash on her forehead and bandaged wounds around her shoulders and chest, Hinderer shared details of her ordeal in a news conference two days after the incident.

“I tried to get my phone, but the touch screen had so much blood on it, it wouldn’t work,” she said during the conference at Beaverton City Hall. “I was trying to get it to unlock while he was hitting me on the head. I was trying to get to the bedroom ... and he burst in behind me. There was blood flying out of my head after dozens of hits.”

The assault on her and her live-in boyfriend ended only, she said, when the children — ages 4, 5 and 7 — refused to leave the house with Howells.

“(Phillip) said, ‘I’m going to save you from April,’” recalled Hinderer, 28. “My daughter said, ‘No, we’re not going.’ I’m so proud of my kids. They didn’t freak out. They knew what to do.”

After six-and-a-half years of marriage to Howells, much of which the couple spent as residents of southwestern Washington, Hinderer said the couple’s divorce was to be finalized in late October. She was given “emergency custody” of the children after an April assault in Washington that led to her obtaining a restraining order against Howells.



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