Jacksonville man convicted in North Carolina man's murder

Dustin Howell, 38, was found dead in Northwest Jacksonville in February 2016

Branden Bailey and Desi Hall
Branden Bailey and Desi Hall

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville man faces life in prison after a jury convicted him in the 2016 murder of a 38-year-old North Carolina man, the State Attorney’s Office announced Friday.

Jurors found Branden Joshua Bailey, 28, guilty of first-degree murder, armed robbery and possession of a firearm by a felon in the shooting death of Dustin Howell.

Howell was shot multiple times Feb. 17, 2016, near West Moncrief Road and Owen Avenue in Northwest Jacksonville, according to police. He did not survive.

Prosecutors said Bailey was seen on video with Howell outside a downtown hotel while Howell. The pair left the premises in Bailey’s girlfriend’s vehicle, which was equipped with GPS.

The vehicle traveled to a Westside home and met up with Bailey’s co-defendant, Desi Hall. The GPS placed the vehicle at a scene nearby, where gunfire was reported and Howell was found dead.

Later, Bailey and Hall were seen returning to the home without Howell. Investigators ultimately found Bailey’s DNA and the vehicle’s tire tracks at the scene, as well as Howell’s DNA on Bailey’s clothes.

Sentencing for Bailey is set for Sept. 20. Hall is scheduled for sentencing Aug. 20 after pleading guilty in March to second-degree murder and armed robbery charges. 

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