Murder charge dismissed after evidence found insufficient

23 June 2021

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (June 23, 2021) – The Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office today announced the dismissal of felony murder charges against Michael Howard in the death of a 17-year-old Brunswick resident due to insufficient evidence.

Howard was initially charged with felony murder along with defendant Bria-Marie Nicole Register, 28, of Brunswick, who still faces felony murder charges in the April 17, 2021, death of victim Javier Cordova of Brunswick. Howard still faces felony charges of tampering with evidence for allegedly dismantling and hiding a handgun prosecutors allege Register used to shoot Cordova.

“After a careful review of the evidence and case file, my office does not believe Mr. Howard caused Ms. Register to murder Mr. Cordova,” said District Attorney Keith Higgins. “Nor do we believe he encouraged Ms. Register or abetted her other than tampering with evidence, with which he is still charged.

“I, and the prosecutors in my office, are committed to justice for Mr. Cordova and his family, and we will continue to prosecute this murder to the fullest extent the law allows,” Higgins added.

Prosecutors allege Register shot and killed Cordova in the early morning hours of April 17 outside an apartment complex in the 3100 block of Cypress Mill Road in Brunswick during an altercation. The firearm allegedly used belonged to Howard, although there is no evidence he willingly provided his firearm to her, according to Deputy Assistant District Attorney Nigel Lush, who is prosecuting the cases against Howard and Register.

Members of the media with further questions may contact the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office at 912-554-7200.

Open Records Act Request: Pursuant to O.C.G.A. 50-18-71(b)(2), the Open Records Officer for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office is Cathy Browning. Written requests should be submitted to her via email at or by mail to the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office, Attention: Cathy Browning, 210 E. 4th St., Woodbine, GA 31569.
Media Policy: The Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney aims to scrupulously follow the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct. The office is not ethically allowed to answer many questions posed by reporters, whatever the journalistic merit. The office cannot, for example, discuss an accused party’s criminal history or speculate about the impact of a particular piece of evidence. These rules are in place to ensure a defendant’s rights to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.