Man accused of killing Crosby bar owner arrested in Las Vegas

CROSBY, Texas (KTRK) -- The man accused of killing a bar owner during Tropical storm Imelda has been arrested.

James Howard, 69, was arrested in Las Vegas for the murder of 58-year-old Ralph Lee Machala, the owner of Pooky's Tavern in Crosby..

RELATED: Bar owner found shot to death during Imelda flooding

On Sept. 21, a realtor found Machala's body at the end of a long dirt road off of Tri City Beach Road in Chambers County.

Due to flooded roads, Machala's body was flown to the medical examiner's office in Beaumont by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office helicopter.

The cause of death was determined to be a gunshot wound.

Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne said it appears that the 58-year-old was not shot at the location where he was found.

"They purposely disposed of the body in this location because they did not expect him to be found," Hawthorne said.
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