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'A colossal failure in our criminal justice system': Louisville murder suspect has lengthy criminal history

Tuesday, 28-year-old Chelynda Howlett was arraigned for the 2021 murder of 40-year-old Poncho Young.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — More than a year after a murder at a motel on Preston Highway, the suspect has been arrested and has a lengthy criminal history.

Tuesday, 28-year-old Chelynda Howlett was arraigned for the 2021 murder of 40-year-old Poncho Young. 

According to court documents, she's been arrested more than 45 times in the last decade; Howlett has been arrested 20 times since 2015 and has 19 charges dating before that.

The charges range from shoplifting and trespassing to domestic violence, to assault according to court documents.

WHAS11 found she spent very little time in jail for these charges according to court records.

When she was sentenced to a year in jail, that sentence was suspended and she spent much of that time on home incarceration.

Former Jefferson County Assistant Attorney Karl Price said this case is a failure of the criminal justice system.

"This represents a colossal failure in our criminal justice system, and definitely a failure for the 2021 victim of murder. I think that the system saw this coming," Price said. "When you have someone who has been charged with possessing a firearm because they're a convicted felon and those charges are dismissed, that becomes a problem."

Price said not only did the system fail the murder victim, but Howlett as well.

"Because those resources that were available, nobody really gave her the opportunity or really put down a heavy hand or forced her to take advantage of those resources," he said.

Howlett currently has six different charges and cases working through the judicial system. A grand jury is set to hear her case the week of Jan. 9.

She is currently in Metro Corrections.

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