Man executed for Fla. state trooper's murder - WRBL

Man executed for Fla. state trooper's murder

Posted: Updated:
Paul Howell Paul Howell

STARKE, Fla. (AP) - A drug trafficker who placed a pipe bomb in a gift-wrapped microwave oven in a plot to kill two potential murder witnesses was executed Wednesday for the 1992 death of a Florida highway trooper who became the unintended victim.

Paul Augustus Howell, 48, was pronounced dead at 6:32 p.m. following a lethal injection at the Florida State Prison in Stark, the office of Gov. Rick Scott said in an email.

Howell was condemned for the killing of Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Jimmy Fulford on Feb. 1, 1992, when the package exploded during a traffic stop.

Howell built the bomb in his Fort Lauderdale home and placed it in the microwave oven, court documents stated. He then paid another man, Lester Watson, $200 to deliver the box across-state to a woman in Marianna who, along with a friend, could tie Howell to a drug-related murder, according to the records.

But Fulford pulled Watson over for speeding about an hour from his Florida Panhandle destination and the bomb never was delivered to the intended target. Instead, Watson was arrested after giving Fulford a false name and birthdate. Watson also gave Fulford permission to search the car rented in Howell's name.

Before Fulford opened the package, a police dispatcher called Howell to let him know what was going on. Instead of mentioning the bomb, Howell said he had given Watson permission to drive the car, but didn't think Watson was leaving the Fort Lauderdale area.

Two deputies took Watson and a passenger to a jail while Fulford took inventory of the car's contents. When the 35-year-old trooper opened the package and looked to see what was in the microwave oven, a powerful explosion took his life.

The blast - so strong that it left a depression in the roadway - occurred along Interstate 10 just east of Tallahassee.

Had the blast occurred in Tammie Bailey's apartment - the woman who was supposed to have received the bomb - it would have been powerful enough to blow out doors and walls, potentially killing anyone in the apartment as well as neighbors, according to court documents. Authorities said Bailey's friend Yolanda McAllister also was an intended target. Bailey had previously told Howell she needed a microwave oven to heat her baby's bottles.

"He saved a bunch of people's lives and I feel if he had to do it over again, he would have done the same thing because that's just the kind of person he was," said Sheriff Ben Stewart in Florida's Madison County, a friend who grew up with Fulford.

Fulford's death prompted a state and federal investigation that broke apart a drug ring and led to the indictment of 28 people.

Howell, a native of Jamaica, was sentenced to life on federal drug charges. He was then convicted on state charges of murder and making, possessing, placing and discharging a destructive and handed the death sentence.

His lawyers had filed an unsuccessful appeal Tuesday to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that a new drug Florida uses for executions wasn't tested for that purpose. This was the fifth execution in the state using the new drug, midazolam hydrochloride, as part of a three-drug mix.

Watson testified that while he saw Howell wrapping the box that contained the microwave oven, he never knew it was a bomb, thinking instead it held drugs. Watson was convicted of second degree murder and is serving a 40-year sentence.

Howell's brother Patrick, who helped him build the bomb, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life.

___

Follow Brendan Farrington on Twitter: http://twitter.com/bsfarrington

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Outpouring of support for New Port Richey soldier dealing with squatters

    Outpouring of support for New Port Richey soldier dealing with squatters

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 1:21 PM EDT2014-04-23 17:21:16 GMT
    Soldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photoSoldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photo
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community. Many News Channel 8 viewers and Facebook followers are angry about what happened to the soldier.
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community. Many News Channel 8 viewers and Facebook followers are angry about what happened to the soldier.
  • Pricey processing issue at Tampa hair academy resolved

    Pricey processing issue at Tampa hair academy resolved

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:35 AM EDT2014-04-23 13:35:13 GMT
    Loretta Maloy says she always expected to pay for the courses she took those several weeks, but thought $10,000 in loans just wasn’t right.
    Loretta Maloy says she always expected to pay for the courses she took those several weeks, but thought $10,000 in loans just wasn’t right.
  • New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 8:58 AM EDT2014-04-23 12:58:50 GMT
    Soldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photoSoldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photo
     When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
    When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
  • NewsMore>>

  • TIA rolls out green carpet for IIFA Bollywood stars

    TIA rolls out green carpet for IIFA Bollywood stars

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 6:34 PM EDT2014-04-23 22:34:47 GMT
    Actress Deepika Padukone with TIA CEO Joe Lopano. TIA Twitter photoActress Deepika Padukone with TIA CEO Joe Lopano. TIA Twitter photo
    Tampa International Airport rolled out the "green" carpet for celebrities attending the IIFA Bollywood awards this weekend in Tampa.
    Tampa International Airport rolled out the "green" carpet for celebrities attending the IIFA Bollywood awards this weekend in Tampa.
  • Mother of student in Sarasota's meltdown video speaks out

    Mother of student in Sarasota's meltdown video speaks out

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 6:32 PM EDT2014-04-23 22:32:23 GMT
    Jeffrey Daughtry is a math teacher at Sarasota Military Academy, is seen having a meltdown on video.Jeffrey Daughtry is a math teacher at Sarasota Military Academy, is seen having a meltdown on video.
    By now, many have seen the video of a Sarasota teacher screaming at one of his students. Now the family of that student is speaking out.
    By now, many have seen the video of a Sarasota teacher screaming at one of his students. Now the family of that student is speaking out.
  • Amid Russia warning, Ukraine is in a security bind

    Amid Russia warning, Ukraine is in a security bind

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 6:26 PM EDT2014-04-23 22:26:23 GMT
    Pro-Russian gunmen in eastern Ukraine say they are holding an American journalist captive.
    Russia's foreign minister warned Wednesday that attacks on Russian citizens or interests in Ukraine would bring a firm response and drew a comparison to the circumstances that opened the war with Georgia in 2008.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

1350 13th Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901

Telephone: 706.323.3333
Fax: 706.327.6655
Email: news@wrbl.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.