Murder victim's widow sues her mother-in-law over alleged handling of family business

March 28, 2013 4:51:32 PM PDT
A legal battle brewing is in the middle of a murder mystery. It's been nearly two months since Ashley Rowell was shot and killed. While the search continues for his killer, now his widow is taking his mother to court over what happened to their business after his death.

Rowell's wife and children left the house the night on which he was killed, and they haven't been back since. One lawsuit was filed in recent years against Rowell by his wife's brother. Now a lawsuit has been filed by his widow, against her mother-in-law.

Rowell was a growing presence in the craft beer and alcohol distribution business in Houston. Then came the night of February 1, when he was shot to death in his own home after answering the front door. Police had persons of interest that night, but making the case though often takes longer.

In the midst of that is a lawsuit filed by Rowell's widow against his mother, Charlotte rowell. The suit claims Charlotte transferred a million dollars from the business bank account, filed a certificate of termination for Dash Distribution and attempted to remove her daughter-in-law and grandchildren from the company's health insurance policy.

It's more tension in a family still confronting tragedy. For Sgt. Brian Harris with HPD Homicide, it's not uncommon.

He said, "Many times when families have a death in the family, a lot of old grievances or problems can sometimes come to the surface."

For the Rowell family, they have. For police, the goal is to solve a murder and the investigation remains active.

"It's somebody that was close to him, somebody that knew him and somebody that had a business and/or a friendship type relationship with him," Sgt. Harris said.

A statement released by Charlotte Rowell reads, "My son was a kind and generous person. To have his memory tainted breaks my heart."

Through her attorney, she denies the allegations in the lawsuit. The case is said to be scheduled for mediation.

For the record, we are told Dash Enterprises remains an active business.

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