Columbus, OH

"A Man Murdered A Woman And Her Kids And Got Away With It." The Story Of Jameila West

The Vivid Faces of the Vanished
Jamelia West 27; and children, 10-year-old daughter, Jameire Ervin, 5-year-old son, Tre'vion Williams, and 3-year-old son, Jakia HowardPhoto byJ43JT Movement

"I feel like, 'Don't my grandkids matter?'" Victoria West told a Columbus Dispatch reporter.

She is talking about her daughter, Jameila West, and her three grandchildren, Jameire, Tre'vion, and Jakia.

Jameila West was born in Warren, Ohio on October 29, 1978. She flourished with her siblings in a close-knit family, guided by the love and care of Victoria.

Jameila grew up to become a doting mother of three adorable children, a 10-year-old daughter, Jameire Ervin, a 5-year-old son, Tre'vion Williams, and a 3-year-old son, Jakia Howard.

The father of her youngest child is a man named Jason Howard. In July 2004, Jameila reported that Jason grabbed her by her neck, threw her on the ground, and he threatened to kill her. He was convicted of domestic violence, and Jameila was issued an order of protection against Jason.

Then, later the same month, Jason returned to the home and attempted to smother Jamelia with a pillow. He was finally convicted and sent to prison, where he served one year and five months, and was placed on supervised release.

Jameila decided she needed to move to protect herself and her children. The young mother packed up her children and moved into a home in the 1500 block of Loretta Avenue in Columbus, Ohio, about two and a half hours south of Warren.

On Monday, June 19, 2006, authorities found 24-year-old Phillip Dally deceased in a field on Front Street in Warren, Ohio. Phillip had been shot and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Victoria and family members tried to reach Jameila over the next couple of days, but no one heard from her, which was unusual. The last contact anyone had with her was on the Saturday evening of June 17, 2006. Worried, Victoria drove from Warren to Columbus. When she arrived at the house on Loretta Avenue, she had no idea that her life was about to change forever. Inside, she found her 27-year-old daughter and three grandchildren deceased. Their bodies had already started decomposition. Jameila had been shot in the head, Jameire had been strangled, and the Tre'vion and Jakia were suffocated. Authorities believe they were murdered late Saturday or Sunday evening.

Jason Howard immediately became a suspect. Authorities charged him with the murder of Phillip Dally, and Jason was arrested in Warren after a brief pursuit. Jason admitted to shooting and killing 24-year-old Phillip but denied involvement in the murders of Jameila and the children. Four months after their homicides, Jason was charged with the murders of Jameila and her three children.

Victoria and her family believe Jason is the person responsible for the deaths of her daughter and grandchildren.

“In her journal that we found after she died, she wrote in that she was through with him,” Victoria told The Dispatch. “She told him that and he threatened her.”

When Jason appeared in court, the pain inflicted upon the family became obvious. Victoria "patted" Jason on the back of his head, and a deputy tackled her. Jameila's brother, 30-year-old Lewis West, and her cousin, 24-year-old Sulthan Honzu, then jumped the banister and unleashed vicious punches and blows on Jason until deputies separated them. The pair were restrained and charged with assault.

Shockingly, prosecutors later dropped all charges against Jason related to the homicides of Jameila and her children based on a lack of evidence. Jason Howard was sentenced to 44 years to life for the death of Phillip Dally.

Since then, Victoria has waited for justice for her family.

"I was told, 'Be patient, be patient, be patient,'" she told The Columbus Dispatch.

Almost 17 years later, no new suspects have been named, no charges have been filed in connection with the brutal homicides, and police classify the case as "cold."

“It shouldn’t even be a cold case, because we don’t have any doubt about who did it,” Victoria told The Dispatch. “The last time I called (Columbus police), they told me he’s not going to get out anyway, as if that makes it better for me. Where’s our justice in that? Someone needs to be held accountable. It shouldn’t be sitting in a pile somewhere. That’s my daughter. Those are my grandkids. Where’s their justice?”

According to Sgt. Terry McConnell, cold case unit supervisor with the Columbus Police Department, "Short of a confession, I don't know of anything else that could be done," he told The Dispatch. "At some point, you've gotten all you can get. As much as we want to solve every case, I have to worry about the guys who are still out there. That's my priority. I don't mean to be insensitive at all when I say that. It's reality, and I have to best use my resources."

Jason Howard continues to deny involvement in the deaths of Jameila West, 27; her daughter, Jameire Ervin, 10; and her sons, Tre’vion Williams, 5, and their son, Jakia Howard, 3.

"There's no way that it's not known in that neighborhood," her brother, Jamir Kai told The Dispatch. "It's a part of the narrative in the community. For the community, the story to be told there is, a man murdered a woman and her children, and he got away with it."

If you have any information, please contact the Columbus Division of Police Cold Case Unit at 614-645-4036.

“It won’t bring my daughter or grandkids back and I know that, but I wish with all my heart that one day they’d call to tell me someone was being held accountable,” Victoria told The Dispatch.

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