Inmate facing murder charges in critical condition after altercation with corrections officers

KCIRT is investigating the incident per the Law Enforcement and Community Safety Act

An inmate suspected of murdering his girlfriend is in critical condition following an altercation with corrections officers at the Kitsap County Jail.

Sean Michael Howell was arrested Friday May 8, after detectives with the Bremerton Police Department were called out to perform a welfare check at the Montgomery Avenue residence where Howell had been staying. Inside, detectives discovered the body of a female, identified in reports as Howell’s girlfriend, Sabrina A. Olson-Smith, 23, of Port Orchard.

According to court documents, Olson-Smith’s body appeared to have been mutilated in multiple locations and broken glass and coffee beans had been placed on her body as well. According to investigators, Howell’s first statement after being read his Miranda rights was, “I’m just sad I killed my girlfriend.”

Howell allegedly told investigators that he and his girlfriend had smoked a marijuana joint in the early morning hours of May 8 before falling asleep — in court documents, it is noted that Howell suggested the marijuana didn’t “taste right, and he believed it was laced with ‘crack.’”

Howell said he awoke to find his Olson-Smith straddling his chest, brandishing a knife and threatening to kill him.

“According to Sean, he initially attempted to defend himself from being attacked by [his girlfriend] with his hands and tried to shield himself with his arms,” documents read.

Howell told investigators that he eventually struck the woman with a wrench and later used a “butcher knife” and katana — a single-edged martial arts sword — to kill her. Howell also allegedly told investigators how he mutilated both of the woman’s hands in the process.

According to documents, when asked by investigators if Olson-Smith had said anything to him during the incident, “[Howell] stated one minute [she] would beg him not to kill her, telling him she loved him and asking why he was doing this to her, and the next minute she would take on a demonic voice, telling [Howell] she was going to kill him.”

Asked if the incident had been preceded by an argument or fight, Howell “said ‘no,’ elaborating that he had proposed to her earlier that night, and she had said yes, she would marry him. According to [Howell], they were very happy together and excited to be getting married.”

After being arrested and booked into Kitsap County Jail for Murder in the first degree, Howell was placed into a crisis cell, which is reserved for inmates who appear to pose a threat to their own safety. According to statements from the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and Washington State Patrol, on May 9, around 10:30 a.m. Howell was observed tampering with a ceiling sprinkler inside the cell and when corrections officers made contact with him, he became combative and attacked the officers, injuring one.

According to the statement, following the physical altercation, Howell was placed into a restraints chair and later observed to be in distress. Officers and medical personnel then reportedly administered CPR before Howell was taken to the hospital, where he remains in critical condition.

According to the Washington State Patrol — the lead investigating agency in the incident — multiple agencies responded to investigate the incident as part of the Kitsap Critical Incident Response Team (KCIRT). KCIRT will conduct the investigation into the incident at the jail, per the terms of the Law Enforcement and Community Safety Act (formerly known as I-940).

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