Woman, 34, fatally shot on Valentine’s Day in Auburn was ‘a beacon of light’

Anicia Howard leaves behind two young sons; father of boys faces first-degree murder charge

Alyiah Burns described her sister Anicia Howard as “a beacon of light, a force of unwavering love and a reservoir of kindness,” at a memorial service for the 34-year-old Kent woman.

Howard, the mother of two young boys, was fatally shot on Valentine’s Day in Auburn.

Calvin Jackson Jr., 32, the father of the two boys, pleaded not guilty March 6 to a first-degree murder charge in the shooting of Howard. Jackson entered his plea at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. He remains in the King County Correctional Facility in Seattle with bail set at $5 million.

King County prosecutors filed a murder charge Feb. 21 against Jackson, claiming he killed Howard with premeditated intent.

Jackson reportedly hid in Howard’s backseat after sneaking into her vehicle prior to shooting her multiple times in the back through her seat, according to charging documents.

After allegedly shooting Howard, he transported Howard, driving her vehicle to a parking lot in the 3700 block of West Valley Highway North in Auburn, according to court documents. At the parking lot, he reportedly dragged her from the vehicle and fired a round into her face, killing her.

An autopsy conducted at the King County Medical Examiner’s Office found Howard died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds to her head and torso. A majority of bullets struck Howard in the back, including one to the back of her head.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, Auburn Police officers discovered Howard after responding at approximately 2:24 p.m. Feb. 14 to a report of a woman lying on the ground motionless with a bullet casing next to her.

Officers located Howard hidden in bushes and foliage next to a commercial business complex, according to documents. They removed a fabric material covering her face and saw a gunshot wound to the right side of her face.

Howard was the mother of Jackson’s children, according to court documents.

In an interview with police, Jackson reportedly said Howard asked him to move out multiple times in recent months, and learned four days prior to her death of Howard’s new romantic relationship with a woman.

Jackson reportedly described to police unlocking her vehicle at around midnight after leaving the apartment. At approximately 3:30 p.m., he hid in her vehicle and waited in the backseat.

Jackson returned home to his and Howard’s children and Howard’s mother after the murder, according to charging documents. According to the affidavit, Jackson and Howard’s mother reported Howard missing to the Kent Police Department. Jackson expressed concern to the Kent officer that Howard had failed to show up for work.

Auburn Police arrested Jackson the next day on Feb. 15. Jackson voluntarily arrived at the police station for an interview and provided his consent for detectives to search his cellphone.

Detectives allegedly located a rideshare history on Jackson’s cellphone showing canceled rides from the 2500 block of Lake Fenwick Road in Kent to his address at around 6 a.m. as additional detectives on the case located Howard’s vehicle in the area, with bullet holes in the driver’s seat.

Jackson reportedly confessed to shooting Howard after the discovery of her vehicle, according to documents.

The life of Anicia Howard

Howard leaves behind two sons, ages 10 and 9, according to her obituary in a funeral program posted online by Adams Funeral Services in Savannah, Georgia.

She was born on Aug. 10, 1989 at the Georgia Baptist Medical Center to Roderick Martin Sr. and Faye Howard. She graduated from Bremerton High School and served in the U.S. Navy from June 8, 2009 until June 7, 2013. Before her death, she was employed as a daycare teacher at Kalidescope.

Alyiah Burns, of Beaufort, South Carolina, raised $6,725 on GoFundMe to help pay for the expense of getting her sister back home to Savannah from Washington state. A service was held March 2 at St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church in Savannah.

“Families and Friends, we gather here today to honor the life of my beautiful sister, Anicia,” Alyiah Burns wrote in a funeral program. “Her presence touched our hearts in profound ways, and her memory will forever be etched into the fibers of our lives.

“Anicia was more than a sister; she was a beacon of light, a force of unwavering love, and a reservoir of kindness. I am reminded of the countless moments we shared-the laughter, the tears, and the quiet conversations that went beyond mere words.”

Howard enjoyed dancing, listening to music, singing, working with children and working with animals. She was loved by young and old alike. She had a special love for her two young sons.

“Her love for her boys, those two bright beautiful boys she brought into this world, was boundless,” Alyiah Burns said. “Anicia poured her heart into their upbringing, teaching them resilience, compassion and the importance of family. She was their rock, their confidante and their guiding star. As they grow, they will carry her legacy forward, drawing strength from the love she showered upon them.”

She inspired others as well.

“Anicia’s smile was infectious – a sunbeam that could pierce through the darkest clouds,” her sister said. “Her laughter echoed in our hearts, a melody that will resonate long after this moment. She had a way of making everyone feel seen, heard and cherished. Whether it was a warm hug or a simple gesture, she had the power to heal wounds and mend broken spirits.”

Survivors include her two sons, of Kent; her mother, Faye Howard, of Kent, and her father, Roderick Martin Sr. of Brandon, Mississippi; and siblings Roderick Martin Jr. of Brandon; Alyiah Burns (Scott Burns) of Beaufort, South Carolina and Martrell Martin (Rasheeda Martin) of Atlanta.

Sound Publishing reporter Benjamin Leung contributed to this article.