TWISTED METHOD Guitarist's Death Shrouded In Mystery

Phillip Bantz of the Cape Coral Daily Breeze reports:

One enormous question connected to one small injury discovered inside the throat of a dead Cape Coral musician stands between detectives attempting to close the nearly 2-year-old case and a suspicious, grieving father who wants justice.

Andrew J. Howard and a high school friend formed TWISTED METHOD when they were just 14 years old. The band would later explode onto the heavy metal music scene, land a $5.5 million five-year contract with MCA Records, record their first and only major label debut album titled "Escape from Cape Coma" in Los Angeles and tour the country and Canada working legions of loyal fans packed shoulder-to-shoulder in mosh pits into a frenzy with heavy-hitting guitar riffs and vitriolic lyrics.

Soon after the band's final tour, Howard was back in the Cape and his girlfriend Jamie Faranda had given birth to their twin daughters Riley Nicole and Jade Renee. The girls were born premature and weighed just over a pound each. Howard decided to stay home with his twins and quit touring with TWISTED METHOD.

The 23-year-old guitarist was found dead inside his Cape Coral home seven months later on Sept. 16, 2005. Howard had been lying in bed deceased for 18 hours before being discovered by a member of his new band THE FALLEN, according to his father Joe Howard and Faranda.

Because the case remains open, Howard's autopsy report is exempt from public record.

But Joe Howard, a former officer and detective with the Cape Coral Police Department and investigator with the state attorney's office, said a county medical examiner revealed that his son had traces of methadone in his system. Howard also had an enlarged heart due to prolonged cocaine use and a 3-centimeter long injury on his larynx, according to Joe.

Joe, who retired from the CCPD and state attorney's office before his son's death, said the medical examiner described the injury as a laceration surrounded by muscle hemorrhaging.

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