MARQUETTE - A Marquette man found guilty last month on two charges connected to a methamphetamine lab explosion Dec. 1 in Gwinn that left him severely burned has been sentenced to at least seven years in prison.
Brian Chapman Howe, 44, appeared in Marquette County Circuit Court Friday morning, where he was sentenced to seven to 20 years in prison with credit for 129 days served.
The jury heard testimony over a period of three days, in which several witnesses gave contradictory testimony as to what happened in the hours leading up to the blast, as well as the immediate aftermath of the blaze that set Howe on fire and burned parts of the kitchen in the 235 Elm St. residence where the incident took place.
A few witnesses testified that they were using morphine that day, and because they were high it was difficult to pinpoint details and provide exact times for when things occurred.
The defense argued that Howe was high on morphine most of the evening and was sleeping on the couch while other people in the home decided to cook meth. The defense said Howe woke up and walked into the kitchen just as the meth cook exploded, and that's how he received his extensive burns.
The prosecution argued that Howe was an integral player in the decision to make the illegal drug and was intimately involved in the actual cook, which explained the burns that covered more than 60 percent of his body.
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.