Monday, February 19, 2018

Man executed in 1992 bomb death of Fla. trooper

STARKE — 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. after a lethal injection at the Florida State Prison in Starke.

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.

On Wednesday, when the curtain opened revealing the witnesses, Howell opened his eyes wide and lifted his head to stare at those gathered. He then began praying.

When asked if he had any words, he apologized to Fulford's family. He then gave a 2-minute statement detailing the events of the crime and placing blame on a friend for letting the bomb go off.

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.

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 birth date. Watson also gave Fulford permission to search the car rented in Howell's name.

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.

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

Once the execution began at 6:19 p.m., the microphone was turned off, but Howell spoke rapidly for about a minute. His words then started to slow, and he lost consciousness. Department of Corrections spokeswoman Jessica Cary later said Howell was praying.

No one from Fulford's family witnessed the execution, and the family gave no statement after it was finished.

Howell's 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.

Comments
Ray Tank: Fans have fun with name of team’s new blog

Ray Tank: Fans have fun with name of team’s new blog

Rays fans upset about the team's recent moves found the perfect target for their ridicule Monday when the team announced the name of its new blog.The Ray Tank.Announcing... The Ray Tank!Our new blog will have behind-the-scenes stories, photos, and mo...
Updated: 2 minutes ago
Rays journal: Matt Andriese not mad (but not happy either) with move to bullpen

Rays journal: Matt Andriese not mad (but not happy either) with move to bullpen

PORT CHARLOTTE — Having spent the offseason preparing for a spot in the rotation, RHP Matt Andriese said he was initially "shocked" when told Sunday that he will begin the season in the bullpen."Ultimately, I'm not happy with the decision," And...
Updated: 9 minutes ago

Getafe keeps momentum in Spain, defeats Celta Vigo 3-0

Getafe followed its surprise draw against Barcelona at Camp Nou Stadium with a comfortable 3-0 win against Celta Vigo on Monday, halting its four-game winless streak in the Spanish league
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Wind-driven wildfire forces people to flee rural California

Wind-driven wildfire forces people to flee rural California

Officials say a wind-driven wildfire in rural central California has forced mandatory evacuations and is threatening hundreds of buildings
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Wrigley Field renovations making progress as 2018 begins

Wrigley Field renovations making progress as 2018 begins

Wrigley Field will still feel plenty familiar to Chicago Cubs fans this season even as the 104-year-old ballpark undergoes more major renovations
Updated: 12 minutes ago

Watson, Giants finalize deal that guarantees $9 million

Left-hander Tony Watson and the San Francisco Giants have finalized a two-year contract that includes a player option for 2020, a deal that guarantees the former All-Star reliever $9 million
Updated: 15 minutes ago

Detroit's Martinez realistic entering contract's last season

After a surgical procedure last year to correct an irregular heartbeat, Victor Martinez is back to try to contribute to the Detroit Tigers in whatever way he can
Updated: 19 minutes ago
SoundBytes: Glass Animals, Katt Williams, Natalie Prass, Lee Ann Womack and more

SoundBytes: Glass Animals, Katt Williams, Natalie Prass, Lee Ann Womack and more

— British alt-rock outfit Glass Animals is coming to the Ritz Ybor on July 24. Knox Fortune will open. Click here.— Katt Williams is returning to the USF Sun Dome on April 14. Tickets are $49 and up. Click here.— It's been a while s...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Review: A seemingly inexhaustible shelf life continues in ‘The Phantom of the Opera’

Review: A seemingly inexhaustible shelf life continues in ‘The Phantom of the Opera’

TAMPA Apparently, the Phantom lives forever.Thirty-two years after its premiere, one of the top-grossing musicals of all time is still packing ’em in. Sunday’s matinee at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts showed why Andrew Lloyd ...
Updated: 21 minutes ago

Frankfurt beats Leipzig as fans vent fury over Monday games

Eintracht Frankfurt came from behind to beat Leipzig 2-1 as its fans vented their fury in the first of five contentious Monday night games to be played in the Bundesliga this season
Updated: 21 minutes ago