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Howard Allen
Birth name: Howard Arthur Allen
Born: February 10, 1949 (1949-02-10) (age 60)
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Number of victims: 3
Span of killings: 1974–1987
Country: United States
State(s): Indiana
Date apprehended: August 4, 1987

Howard Arthur Allen (born February 10, 1949) is an African-American serial killer from Indianapolis, Indiana. He is believed to be responsible for the deaths of three elderly people, as well as assault, burglary, and arson.


In August 1974, Allen Beat Opal Cooper, age 85, to death in her home during a robbery. He was sentenced to 2–21 years for manslaughter and paroled in January 1985.

On May 18, 1987, he choked and beat a 73-year-old woman in her home, who survived. Two days later, he assaulted Laverne Hale, age 87, resulting in her death nine days later.

On June 2, 1987, he burglarized the house of an elderly man just five blocks from the scene of Laverne Hale's murder. This time the tenant was absent; Allen vented his anger by setting the house on fire.

On July 14, 1987, he killed Ernestine Griffin, age 73, with a ten-inch butcher knife, and bashing her in the head repeatedly with a kitchen toaster. He stole a camera and $15. He was arrested later that day.

Arrest and trial

Allen was arrested on August 24 on multiple charges. Witnesses linked him with the May 18 attack, leading to Allen's indictment on charges of battery, burglary, and unlawful confinement. He was also charged with arson and burglary (from the June 2 incident), as well as the murder of Ernestine Griffin. As it happened, Lavern Hale had been a neighbor of Allen's, living directly behind his house, and he remains a suspect in her murder, based upon the killer's modus operandi. He was also a suspect in 11 other cases, each involving robbery or assault of elderly victims in their homes around Indianapolis.[1]

He was found guilty of burglary and felony battery of the May 18 assault, and sentenced to 88 years in prison. On June 11, 1988, he was sentenced to death by lethal injection for the murder of Ernestine Griffin. On August 30, 1988, he was placed on death row, where, as of 2006, he remains awaiting ruling by a U.S. District Court on a petition for writ of habeas corpus.[2]


  1. ^ Howard Arthur Allen; Frances Farmers Revenge page 40
  2. ^ Indiana Death Row: ALLEN, HOWARD A. # 56. Last updated 1 Jul 2006. Accessed 23 Jan 2007. (includes mugshot)


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