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Jury selection begins for Kansas man facing trial for sexually assaulting Tyler teen

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BY KENNETH DEAN, kdean@tylerpaper.com

(TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - The trial for a man who authorities say traveled from Kansas to Tyler to have sex with a 16-year-old is scheduled to begin with jury selection today, according to the Smith County District Attorney's Office.

Matthew William Howell, 26, has been in the Smith County Jail since September 29 on six counts of sexual assault of a child and two counts of indecency with a child/sexual contact. His bonds total $1.2 million.

 

Tyler Police Public Information Officer Don Martin said Howell began his relationship with the teenager when she was 13 meeting her online when he was 21. 

Martin said the two continued to have a long distance relationship, which culminated in Howell traveling to Tyler multiple times to have sex with the teen. 

According to the DA's office, Howell is married with children.

 

Martin said he was informed that the legal age of consent for sexual relations in Kansas is 16.

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