Ray Charles' Sound Engineer Cleared

A judge yesterday (Sept. 8) dismissed the criminal case against an award-winning sound engineer who was accused of stealing master recordings from the late Ray Charles valued at $8 million, officials

A judge yesterday (Sept. 8) dismissed the criminal case against an award-winning sound engineer who was accused of stealing master recordings from the late Ray Charles valued at $8 million, officials said.

California Superior Court Judge Samuel Mayerson ruled there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a trial against Terry Howard, said district attorney's spokesperson Jane Robison. Howard had been charged with grand theft by embezzlement and receiving stolen property.

Howard, 48, worked with Charles for two decades and won three Grammys for his work on the artist's final album, "Genius Loves Company."

Howard had the right to work on Charles' recording at his own home studio and no one ever asked him to return anything, said defense attorney Steven Cron.

"There was no showing that he ever intended to profit by selling anything belonging to Ray Charles," Cron said. "He had worked on these materials and because he wasn't very organized at the time, failed to return them."

Howard has had a contentious relationship with Joe Adams, head of Ray Charles Enterprises, Cron said. "No one ever called or wrote Terry Howard and said, 'We think you might have some tapes that belong to Ray Charles,'" he said. "They just went to police."

Prosecutors will review whether to refile charges against Howard, Robison said. Howard no longer works for Ray Charles Enterprises and is freelancing, Cron said.


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