Man who chained nephew pleads guilty

Teen's uncle chained him inside marijuana grow house so he wouldn't leave

Baker County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Troy Howell

BAKER COUNTY, Fla. – A man accused of chaining his teenage nephew in a marijuana grow house so he wouldn't leave the bedroom pleaded guilty earlier this month.

Troy Howell pleaded guilty April 16 to false imprisonment, child abuse, aggravated battery, maintaining a house where marijuana is cultivated, witness tampering and other charges.

He will be sentenced May 7.

Deputies said Howell chained his 18-year-old nephew to the floor in October 2011 to keep him from running away from the home in the 18800 block of Crews Road.

Deputies found a heavy chain, and the door to the room Howell's nephew was in had a padlock on it.

Deputies seized from the home about 90 plants and 9 pounds of processed pot valued at nearly $100,000. Investigators said the teen told them his uncle had quit working and was focused on operating the grow house.