Q: Can you tell me what happened to the mother, Cherie, and her ex-husband, a prominent San Francisco bail bondsman, who were both convicted in the shooting death of a 14-year-old boy in the Meadowview area, who had been in a disagreement of some sort with Cherie’s son? This was probably 15 to 20 years ago.
A: Cherie Lee Forstein, her ex husband Curtis Howard and self-described bounty hunter James Cable Stringer were found guilty in the Sept. 22, 1999, shooting death of 18-year-old Howard Morris Jr. in Sacramento’s Franklin Villa neighborhood.
Forstein and Howard were sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for first-degree murder. Forstein received an additional year for related charges, and Howard received an additional 25 years to life as well as seven years for additional charges. Stringer, an ex-felon, was sentenced to 16 years to life in prison.
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Forstein, now 63, is at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowcilla, and Stringer, 59, is at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in Cocoran. Howard, who was 78 when he was sentenced in October 2000, does not appear in the online roster of current state prison inmates.
Forstein had enlisted Howard and Stringer to settle a long-running dispute between Howard Morris Jr.’s 13-year-old brother and her 13-year-old son. She had goaded Curtis Howard, her son’s father, into strong-arming a truce between the two boys, according to stories in The Sacramento Bee. Howard and Stringer came to Franklin Villa, cornered Morris’ 13-year-old brother and held a gun to his head. Stringer claimed to be a police officer and flashed a badge.
The boy ran home and told his brother, who went looking for the men after telling the boy to alert police and his mother. Morris found Howard and approached him with his hands up, but Howard shot him, then shot him a second time as Morris struggled to get up.
Howard Morris Jr. was known for working to help his neighborhood, according to stories in The Bee. He was a volunteer at an after-school center and had helped organize a baby-sitting co-op. He was about to attend a multicultural fair when he was shot.