The circumstances surrounding Cayley Mandadi’s demise in 2017 were highly questionable. She was brought to the hospital in an almost lifeless state by her boyfriend, Mark Howerton, with her clothes in disarray. Howerton asserted that they had consumed drugs at a concert, leading her to pass out. Sadly, Cayley succumbed to death just a day after these events. ’48 Hours: For the Love of Cayley Mandadi’ delves into the reasons behind Mark killing his girlfriend and the sequence of events that culminated in Cayley’s fate.
Who is Mark Howerton?
Mark Howerton and Cayley Mandadi initiated their relationship in 2017. Cayley, a 17-year-old sophomore and cheerleader at Trinity University, and Mark, a 22-year-old Texan, officially started dating in September of that year. Allegedly, their relationship was tumultuous from the outset. According to several friends of Cayley, she exhibited bruises on her arms and legs, attributing them to Mark’s actions. One friend even recounted an incident when Cayley asked them to come along to retrieve her cell phone from Mark, and the situation escalated to the point where Mark became aggressive, allegedly brandishing a gun and issuing threats.
On the night of September 24, 2017, Cayley’s suitemates contacted the police around 1 a.m. after hearing loud noises emanating from Cayley’s bedroom and a man shouting, threatening violence. The responding officer found Mark alone in the room, which was in disarray, with soda poured over Cayley’s bed. When Cayley returned to the room, she informed the officer that it was not the way she had left it. According to her friends, they believed Mark had consumed drugs, leading to an outburst, and they alleged that he had even threatened to throw Cayley off a balcony. Her friends also reported to the police that Cayley had expressed fear for her life and was scared that Mark might kill her.
On October 29, Mark and Cayley attended the Mala Luna music festival in San Antonio. According to Mark’s statement to the police, they argued about Cayley’s ex-boyfriend, Jett Birchum. Mark claimed they left the festival, reconciled, and then engaged in consensual but rough sex at a gas station. He stated that Cayley mentioned feeling unwell and subsequently passed out. Mark asserted he promptly took her to the hospital. At the hospital, he sought help from a paramedic, stating Cayley was in distress. The paramedic described Cayley in a troubling state, with her pants on the floorboard, her top pulled up, numerous bruises on her thighs, and unresponsive.
Mark told the hospital staff that they had taken some drugs before going to the festival, so they treated her for a possible overdose. She was then transferred to another medical facility in Kyle, Texas, where a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner conducted an exam on her and found several bruises on her arms, legs, and ear. Cayley was declared brain dead around 4 am on October 30, 2017, and passed away on October 31 after being taken off of life support. A cornoner; ‘s report stated that Cayley had died from blunt force trauma to the head and ruled it a homicide. Mark was the police’s prime suspect, but there was no concrete evidence linking him to murder.
Where is Mark Howerton Now?
In February 2018, Mark Howerton surrendered to the police, facing charges of murder, sexual assault, and later, kidnapping. However, he did not plead guilty to these charges. His trial commenced in December 2019, with prosecutors contending that Mark, known for his temperamental disposition, had fatally harmed Cayley Mandadi in a fit of rage. They further claimed that he had driven her around for nearly six hours before taking her to the hospital. In his defense, Mark’s legal team argued that various factors could explain Cayley’s death. Autopsy reports indicated drugs in her system, suggesting a potential spike in blood pressure or a head injury during sexual activity.
When the jury failed to reach a verdict, the case was declared a mistrial and dismissed. Mark’s retrial, which commenced in June 2023 after being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulted in a verdict. While he was not found guilty of murder, he was convicted of aggravated assault causing bodily injury. The court sentenced him to 20 years in jail and ordered him to pay a $10,000 fine and restitution to Cayley’s family. Additionally, he was prohibited from contacting over 20 people involved in the case. Currently 28 years old, Mark is serving his sentence at the Willacy County State Jail, with eligibility for parole in 2033.