The Tragic Murder of Christie Dawn Wilson by Gary Lloyd Howell Jr.

The Tragic Murder of Christie Dawn Wilson by Gary Lloyd Howell Jr.
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The Tragic Murder of Christie Dawn Wilson

In June 2007, the body of 25-year-old Christie Dawn Wilson was discovered outside a home in east Tulsa, Oklahoma. She had been brutally beaten and murdered. The man responsible for this horrific crime was Gary Lloyd Howell Jr., who callously admitted to chopping up Wilson's body in a chilling police interview. This case sent shockwaves through the Tulsa community and garnered national media attention.

The Discovery of Christie Dawn Wilson's Body

On June 14, 2007, Tulsa police officers responded to a call about a suspicious object outside a home on the 1000 block of South Quincy Avenue. When officers arrived on the scene, they made the grisly discovery - the badly beaten body of Christie Dawn Wilson. She was naked and her remains had been placed in trash bags. The medical examiner later determined that Wilson had died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Detectives immediately launched a homicide investigation. Interviews with residents revealed that Wilson had last been seen alive three days earlier on June 11 at the home of Gary Lloyd Howell Jr. Howell, then 33 years old, lived just doors down from where Wilson's body was found.

Gary Lloyd Howell Jr. Becomes Prime Suspect

Howell quickly became the prime suspect in Wilson's murder. Detectives learned that Howell and Wilson were involved in a romantic relationship and she had been staying at his home. When interviewed by police, Howell claimed he had not seen Wilson in several days.

However, during a search of Howell's home, investigators discovered evidence contradicting his story. Blood spatters were found throughout the house, including on the ceiling and walls of Howell's bedroom. An aluminum baseball bat - believed to be the murder weapon - was also recovered. In a spare bedroom, detectives locatedtrash bags and duct tape consistent with the material used to wrap Wilson's body.

Howell's Chilling Confession

When confronted with the mounting evidence against him, Gary Lloyd Howell Jr. confessed to murdering Christie Dawn Wilson. In a chilling interview with detectives, Howell admitted that he had beaten Wilson to death with the baseball bat following an argument at his home on June 11.

"I just lost it man," Howell said on tape. "I went berserk on her." After killing Wilson, Howell admitted to cutting up her body with electric carving knives in his bathroom. He then placed the remains in trash bags and dumped them outside near his home. Throughout the interview, Howell was shockingly flip about the gruesome details of the murder and dismemberment.

Gary Lloyd Howell Jr. Pleads Guilty

In May 2008, Gary Lloyd Howell Jr. pleaded guilty to first degree murder for the slaying of Christie Dawn Wilson. As part of a plea deal, Howell was sentenced to 35 years in prison, avoiding a possible death penalty trial. He showed little remorse during court proceedings.

"I don't think you have a clue or care about what you have done," District Judge Bill Musseman told Howell at his sentencing. "I don't think I have ever seen anyone as cold and uncaring as you are."

Remembering Christie Dawn Wilson

The senseless and brutal murder of Christie Dawn Wilson rocked her community and devastated her family and friends. Originally from Skiatook, Oklahoma, Wilson was described as a fun-loving and caring person who impacted many lives. Her mother, Candy Wilson Cottrell, said Christie had a "heart as big as Texas."

In the aftermath of her death, those who knew Christie best said they hoped she would be remembered not just as a victim, but for her contagious smile and zest for life. She left behind two young sons who were just 8 and 9 years old at the time. A memorial fund was established to help with costs of raising Wilson's children without their mother.

True Crime Headlines

The chilling murder of Christie Dawn Wilson is notable not only for the brutal actions of her killer, but also for how the case developed:

  • Wilson's badly beaten body was callously discarded just outside Howell's home, leading to the shocking discovery.
  • Physical evidence found in Howell's house quickly unraveled his initial claims of innocence.
  • Howell's detached and flip confession stunned detectives and prosecutors with his total lack of remorse.
  • The murder weapon - an aluminum baseball bat - and Howell's dismemberment of Wilson's body added to the brutality.
  • Howell's significant prison term provided a measure of justice, but Christie Dawn Wilson's loved ones still feel the pain of her loss.

The Trial and Aftermath

Gary Lloyd Howell Jr.'s murder trial was set to begin in September 2008 but he agreed to plead guilty to first degree murder in order to avoid the death penalty. The plea deal came after hours of negotiations between prosecutors and Howell's defense attorneys.

Plea Deal and Sentencing

By pleading guilty to the murder charge, Howell received a 35 year prison sentence. This was the maximum penalty without the possibility of parole. Prosecutors said the plea deal was done in consultation with Christie Dawn Wilson's family.

In an emotional statement at Howell's sentencing, Wilson's mother Cindy Cottrell said "She was my baby girl and I will never see her again." She also lamented the loss her two young grandsons felt by having their mother taken away.

Life in Prison

Gary Lloyd Howell Jr. remains incarcerated at the Mack Alford Correctional Center in Stringtown, Oklahoma. Now in his late 40s, he will not be eligible for parole or release until 2042 at the age of 68. While serving his prison term, Howell has kept a relatively low profile and avoided major disciplinary infractions. However, Wilson's family and prosecutors believe he still shows no true remorse for the horrific murder.

"I don't think he cares about what he did," Assistant District Attorney Andrea Brown said at the time of Howell's sentencing. "He has no remorse."

No Closure for Family

For Christie Dawn Wilson's family, Howell's guilty plea and prison term brought only a limited sense of justice. The brutal way she died and vicious nature of the beating leaves them with little closure.

"Our family will struggle the rest of our lives," said Wilson's sister Misty Atkinson in a victim impact statement. She lamented that Howell not only took Christie's life, but robbed her sons of their mother.

Wilson's mother Cindy added that thinking about what happened to her daughter in Howell's home "keeps me awake at night." Even with Howell in prison, their grief remains raw.

Lessons Learned

The tragic murder of Christie Dawn Wilson and subsequent conviction of Gary Lloyd Howell Jr. provides some important reminders about violent crime, investigations, and seeking justice for victims:

Protecting Domestic Violence Victims

Advocates note that Wilson's vulnerable position as a domestic partner of Howell may have played a role leading up to her murder. Efforts to improve protection and resources for domestic violence victims are critical.

Following the Physical Evidence

Despite Howell's misleading statements to police, physical evidence like the blood stains and murder weapon ultimately revealed the truth about Christie's murder.

Impact on Families

The lingering grief and trauma felt by those close to Christie Dawn Wilson underscores the destruction caused by violent crimes. Support is needed for survivors.

Offender Accountability

Howell's significant prison sentence holds him accountable for the murder and provides a measure of justice. But true remorse and redemption remain elusive.


The brutal 2007 murder of Christie Dawn Wilson stands as a stark reminder of the darkness human beings are capable of. The violence inflicted upon her by Gary Lloyd Howell Jr. in a fit of rage ended a young life and irreparably damaged many others.

While Howell serves his prison term, Christie's family and friends continue to feel her loss. Yet they also strive to honor her memory by remembering the vibrant, loving person she was. Though tragic, her story can also serve as a cautionary tale about protecting those at risk of domestic violence.

Cases like this also show the need for investigators and prosecutors to remain vigilant in pursuing justice for victims and their families. Though it provides only a limited comfort, Howell's conviction does hold him accountable for this heinous crime.


How did Christie Dawn Wilson die?

Christie Dawn Wilson was murdered by Gary Lloyd Howell Jr., who admitted to beating her to death with a baseball bat. Her body was found outside Howell's home in Tulsa, Oklahoma in June 2007.

When did Gary Lloyd Howell Jr. confess to the murder?

After initial claims of innocence, Howell confessed to murdering Wilson after police confronted him with evidence found in his home, including the bloody baseball bat.

Why did Gary Lloyd Howell Jr. murder Christie Dawn Wilson?

According to his confession, Howell said he "lost it" and beat Wilson to death following an argument at his home. Prosecutors believe domestic violence may have played a role leading up to the brutal murder.

How long is Gary Lloyd Howell Jr.'s prison sentence?

Howell pleaded guilty to first degree murder and received a 35 year prison sentence as part of a plea deal that allowed him to avoid the death penalty.

What happened to Christie Dawn Wilson's children?

Wilson had two young sons, aged 8 and 9 at the time of her death. A memorial fund was established to help support Wilson's children after the devastating loss of their mother.

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