Former AU employee to have 'change of plea' hearing - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Former AU employee to have 'change of plea' hearing

Stephen Howard. (Source: WTVM) Stephen Howard. (Source: WTVM)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WTVM) – An Auburn man accused of trafficking and distributing the “date rape drug” to undercover agents earlier this year will have an intent change of plea hearing on Wednesday.

Stephen K. Howard, 64, will appear in a Middle District of Alabama courtroom in Montgomery on Wednesday at 11 a.m. CST.

Howard was arrested on May 22. He pled not guilty in May, and the motion was filed on Oct. 19. 

According to the Auburn Plainsman, Howard is no longer an employee of Auburn University. He was formerly employed as a chemistry lab technician for the College of Engineering’s polymer and fiber engineering department.

According to court documents, Howard sold an undercover agent 20 ounces of a liquid substance used to incapacitate women. Shortly thereafter, another purchase was made from Howard for nearly a gallon of the same substance. During the second purchase, Howard showed the undercover agent that he had a handgun.

Following these purchases, lab tests confirmed that the liquid was in fact a controlled substance called 1,4-butanediol. When ingested, 1,4-butanediol is converted into the date rape drug.

On May 22, law enforcement executed search warrants at Howard's office on Auburn's campus, and at his home. Howard was arrested the same day.

If convicted, Howard faces up to 20 years in prison for distribution of a controlled substance, and a possible 32 year sentence on charges for possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.

During testimony in May, it was revealed that Howard harbored ill-intent toward two women in particular. You can read the affidavit here

The U.S. Attorney's Office said that Howard was not manufacturing GHB, just the distribution and trafficking.

Those who believe they may have been victims of an incident involving the date rape drug are asked to call the Auburn Police Department investigative line at (334)-501-3410. 

RELATED: Hearing reveals details of Auburn man charged with trafficking date rape drug

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