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Author Topic: Paul Augustus Howell - FL - 2/26/14  (Read 2908 times)

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Offline Grinning Grim Reaper

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Paul Augustus Howell - FL - 2/26/14
« on: January 19, 2013, 11:18:49 AM »
Paul Howell Set to be Executed



Published January 18th, 2013

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Gov. Rick Scott has signed a death warrant for a man convicted killing a Florida state trooper.
   
The governor's office announced Friday that 47-year-old Paul Augustus Howell is scheduled to die by lethal injection at Florida State Prison near Raiford at 6 p.m., Feb. 26.
 
Trooper Jimmy Fulford was blown apart when he opened a booby-trapped package during a routine traffic stop on Interstate 10 in February 1992. The pipe bomb, hidden in a gift-wrapped microwave oven, was intended to kill two women in Marianna because they knew too much about a drug-related murder in 1991. The death led to federal and state investigations that exposed a drug trafficking ring based in South Florida.
 
Howell was convicted of building the bomb and sentenced to death in 1995.

www.wcjb.com
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Re: Paul Augustus Howell - FL - 2/26/13
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2013, 03:34:49 AM »
Justice has taken its time in Florida, but it has got there.

Picture of the POS and the victim.

RIP Jimmy Fulford, may your soul now rest.
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Offline Grinning Grim Reaper

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Re: Paul Augustus Howell - FL - 2/26/13
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2013, 07:01:46 AM »
Posted: Wed 4:38 PM, Feb 06, 2013 Updated: Wed 5:41 PM, Feb 06, 2013


Trooper's Killer Appeals to Florida Supreme Court


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- A drug trafficker convicted of killing a state trooper with a booby-trapped microwave intended for two Marianna women, is asking the Florida Supreme Court to block his scheduled Feb. 26 execution.
 
Lawyers for Paul Augustus Howell asked the justices for a stay of execution and filed a post-conviction appeal on Wednesday.
 
Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey previously denied Howell's appeal in Jefferson County. That's where Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Jimmy Fulford was killed by an exploding pipe bomb in February 1992.

The bomb was in a gift-wrapped microwave oven Fulford found in a car he stopped for a traffic violation on Interstate 10 east of Tallahassee.

Howell was convicted of building the bomb that he intended to kill two women in Marianna because they knew too much about a South Florida drug trafficking ring.

www.wjhg.com
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Offline turboprinz

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Re: Paul Augustus Howell - FL - 2/26/13
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2013, 02:03:06 PM »
Florida justices asked to stay Feb. 26 execution
Published: February 15, 2013



TALLAHASSEE -- New lawyers for a drug trafficker convicted of killing a state trooper 21 years ago with a pipe bomb asked the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday to stay his execution, which is set for Feb. 26.

Two attorneys recently hired by death row inmate Paul Augustus Howell's brother filed the request.

They contend two court-appointed lawyers previously assigned to the case should be removed because they have a conflict of interest and are woefully unprepared to handle last-ditch appeals in state and federal courts. One of those appeals is pending in the Supreme Court.

The new lawyers, Sonya Rudenstine and Michael Ufferman, wrote that Howell "effectively had no counsel" from the time Gov. Rick Scott signed his death warrant on Jan. 18 until they were hired nearly two weeks later.

Howell was convicted of gift-wrapping a microwave oven that was booby trapped with a pipe bomb with the intent of killing two Panhandle women because they knew too much about a South Florida drug ring.

Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Jimmy Fulford in February 1992 stopped a car that was carrying the bomb for a traffic violation on Interstate 10 east of Tallahassee before it could reach its intended victims in Marianna. Fulford was killed when the bomb exploded as he opened the package on the roadside.

The stay request includes a sworn statement by Clyde Taylor, one of the court-appointed lawyers, who agreed he had a conflict and should no longer represent Howell. Taylor also acknowledged he may have overlooked possible claims such as mental health issues in a prior appeal and that he was hampered in representing Howell because many of the case files were ruined when his garage, where they were stored, flooded years ago.

The alleged conflict is due to Taylor's sharing office space and an administrative assistant with Howell's original post-conviction attorney, Danielle Jorden, and serving as her mentor. Jorden was taken off the case after she missed a filing deadline for having it reviewed in federal court. Taylor later was appointed in 2002.

"I believe I can contribute evidence as a witness to support Mr. Howell's ... claims," Taylor wrote in his statement.

It would be a conflict for Taylor to both testify and represent Howell.

Another court-appointed lawyer, Baya Harrison III, wants to remain on the case, but the new attorneys contend he also is tainted by Taylor's conflict. They noted as well that Harrison previously indicated to a trial judge that he couldn't or wouldn't represent Howell after Scott signed his death warrant.

Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey subsequently refused to remove Harrison and Taylor from the case and denied Howell's motion to appoint mental health experts, an investigator and mitigation specialist to his case.

Howell is appealing those rulings to the Supreme Court. He also contends Florida's capital sentencing scheme is unconstitutionally arbitrary.

http://www.bradenton.com/2013/02/15/4394828/florida-justices-asked-to-stay.html
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Offline Grinning Grim Reaper

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Re: Paul Augustus Howell - FL - 2/26/13
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2013, 01:17:37 PM »
Justices deny stay of execution for Paul Howell

Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 1:54 pm | Updated: 2:03 pm, Tue Feb 19, 2013.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL/AP) -- Florida Supreme Court Justices have denied a stay of execution filed on behalf of a drug trafficker convicted of killing a state trooper.

Tuesday, justices denied the post-conviction appeal filed on behalf of Paul Augustus Howell. He is scheduled to be executed February 26.

Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey previously denied Howell's appeal in Jefferson County. That's where Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Jimmy Fulford was killed by an exploding pipe bomb in February 1992.

The bomb was in a gift-wrapped microwave oven Fulford found in a car he stopped for a traffic violation on Interstate 10 east of Tallahassee.

Howell was convicted of building the bomb that he intended to kill two women in Marianna because they knew too much about a South Florida drug trafficking ring.

www.wtxlabc27.com
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Offline Grinning Grim Reaper

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Re: Paul Augustus Howell - FL - 2/26/13
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2013, 01:55:07 PM »
Lawyers Seek Final Appeal for Man Due to Be Executed
 
By LIZETTE ALVAREZ
 
Published: February 20, 2013

MIAMI — Lawyers for a man scheduled to be executed in Florida on Feb. 26 for killing a state trooper filed a motion in federal court on Wednesday arguing that the prisoner had been wrongly denied his final appeal because of a missed filing deadline.

If Paul Augustus Howell, 47, is executed next week, he would become the first Florida inmate to die by lethal injection without receiving his final federal appeal, called a habeas petition, since 2008. That year, the United States Supreme Court stated that a lawyer’s misconduct or “gross negligence” may be enough to override the one-year filing deadline for final federal appeal under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.

Mr. Howell’s lawyers say that his original trial lawyer had a “substantial conflict of interest,” that began with a reported death threat. An additional 30 Florida inmates on death row have also missed federal habeas petition filing deadlines and could face similar situations when their execution dates arrive.

On Tuesday, the Florida Supreme Court rejected Mr. Howell’s appeal and his request for a stay of execution. The justices said they could not address claims that Mr. Howell may raise in federal court.

Michael Ufferman, one of Mr. Howell’s new appellate lawyers, said executing someone before Mr. Howell, or any other offender, received a habeas review was not a precedent that Rick Scott, the Florida governor, should set.

“He has never had the opportunity to have this issue reviewed in federal court,” Mr. Ufferman said. “We are pushing that issue with the governor’s office.”

Mr. Howell was convicted in a 1992 pipe-bomb killing of a Florida state trooper, Jimmy Fulford. Mr. Fulford had stopped a car, later traced to Mr. Howell, that contained a microwave oven with a pipe-bomb inside that Mr. Howell had made, prosecutors said. The bomb was meant for a woman with information on a South Florida drug ring. When Mr. Fulford tried to open the package, it exploded.

But before Mr. Howell faced state murder charges for killing the trooper, he was a defendant in a federal trial for drug trafficking in an unrelated case. His lawyer in the federal trial, Frank Sheffield, now a state court judge, withdrew from the case after his secretary, who was also his wife, said he received a death threat by telephone. She said an anonymous caller asked if he could leave Mr. Sheffield a message: “If Paul Howell goes down, Mr. Sheffield is going down also.”

Mr. Howell was convicted on the drug charges and sentenced to life in prison.

Mr. Sheffield decided to represent Mr. Howell in the murder case, despite a request by prosecutors that he be removed from it. A state judge allowed Mr. Sheffield to continue to represent Mr. Howell. Mr. Howell’s appellate lawyers say that Mr. Sheffield’s continued representation posed a conflict, and is grounds for a habeas review.

After Mr. Howell’s conviction, one of his court-appointed lawyers missed a filing deadline that would have allowed him to appear in federal court for this last appeal. The habeas review is routine in death-penalty cases, and provides inmates with a final layer of protection.

“In light of the Supreme Court case, they should reopen and reconsider the dismissal of Mr. Howell’s federal habeas petition for being untimely,” Mr. Ufferman said of his motion before the federal court in Tallahassee.

www.newyorktimes.com
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Offline Grinning Grim Reaper

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Re: Paul Augustus Howell - FL - 2/26/13
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2013, 07:12:27 AM »
US attorneys try to block Jamaican's execution


Published: Friday | February 22, 2013

Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer

A team of attorneys in the US state of Florida have launched a desperate series of last-ditch manoeuvrings hoping to stall the execution of a Jamaican man, even though officials there have begun making preparations for his execution in just over 72 hours.

Paul Augustus Howell, a 47-year-old, who authorities charged was part of a South Florida drug ring, was convicted for killing Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Jimmy Fulford in February 1992 and is scheduled to be executed next Tuesday.

But Ida Ufferman, one of the lawyers representing Howell, is insisting that he did not get a fair trial and said her team filed a motion in Florida's Federal Court on Wednesday to temporarily spare his life and get a new trial.

"We are already waiting for the Federal Court to decide and whatever they decide, if they don't stay it, we will go to the Eleventh Circuit (court) and to the Supreme Court, " Ufferman vowed.

She said a separate motion was expected to be filed late yesterday or today, also seeking to block Tuesday's execution.

Letter to the governor

In addition, Ufferman said her team has already written to Florida's Governor Richard Scott asking him to rescind Howell's execution warrant and is preparing to file papers with Scott's office seeking clemency on behalf of the Jamaican.

"We don't believe justice was served in this case and Mr Howell has not received his day in court," Ufferman told The Gleaner yesterday.

The Florida Supreme Court voted unanimously on Tuesday to deny an appeal by Howell and an application for a stay of execution.

Ufferman revealed that Howell has managed to remain "pretty calm", even though he admitted that he was bothered by all the preparations taking place around him for the execution.  ;D

As part of those preparations, she said he has already been measured by prison personnel who are seeking to ensure that they have "the right straps to strap him down for the execution".  8)

"He is a Christian man and that gives him strength," Ufferman said, noting that Howell's parents and other relatives have been providing support.

Fulford was killed instantly after a bomb Howell had hidden in his car, gift-wrapped as a microwave oven, exploded during a traffic stop in eastern Tallahassee.

Authorities believed the bomb was intended to kill two women in Marianna because they knew too much about his South Florida drug operation.

However, Ufferman's team has argued that a key issue in the case was a "substantial" conflict of interest by Howell's trial attorney Frank Sheffield, who is now a circuit judge in Tallahassee.

Ufferman said the conflict of interest claim, which will form the basis of Howell's current legal fight, was never heard in Federal Court because his initial appellate attorney missed a filing deadline.

www.jamaica-gleaner.com

All of a sudden 4 days before the X this guy is Jamaican.  He's no more Jamaican than I am!
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Offline Kitten Resq

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Re: Paul Augustus Howell - FL - 2/26/13
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2013, 07:29:41 AM »
So because the lawyers, who for all intents and purposes are suppose to know the law, missed the filing dates the courts are entertaining the idea that this cop killer should be allowed to continue to breathe the same air as non-cop killers are? 

Even lawyers should understand the importance of a "DEADline" right?   ???
Some people say I’m a horrible person, but it’s not true!  I have the heart of an innocent girl….in a jar, on my desk

Victims have a dignitary interest in justice and vindication without interminable delay caused by guilty prisoners’ attempts to stave off punishment.

Offline Grinning Grim Reaper

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Re: Paul Augustus Howell - FL - 2/26/13
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2013, 09:33:01 AM »
Update: Faith leaders, others call for end to the death penalty

Feb 21, 2013
Written by Jeff Burlew

Faith leaders and death-penalty opponents are calling on Gov. Rick Scott to stay next week’s planned execution of Paul Howell, who built a pipe bomb that killed Florida Highway Patrol Jimmy Fulford in 1992 in a botched assassination plot.

The Florida Supreme Court earlier this week turned down a stay request from Howell’s attorneys, who have since filed a new request in U.S. District Court in Tallahassee. His attorneys, Sonya Rudenstine of Gainesville and Michael Ufferman of Tallahassee, say that if Howell’s execution moves forward as planned, he will be the first person to be put to death in Florida without federal-court review in years.

Howell’s last-minute attempts to avoid execution come as the Florida Legislature is moving forward with legislation to speed up the time it takes to execute Death Row inmates. In Florida, inmates spend an average of 13-plus years on Death Row before they are executed.

Today, members of Tallahassee Citizens Against the Death Penalty and the local faith community called for a stay in the Howell case and an end to capital punishment in Florida.

“The death penalty is and continues to be bad policy,” said Juvais Harrington, chair of TCADP. “As other states move to eliminate, to forestall, to do away with the death penalty, Florida yet again ... (lags) behind. Our feeling is there is still time to stop this and that there is no need for the death penalty.”

The Rev. Emory Hingst, retired pastor of St. Stephen Lutheran Church, said TCADP compiled and distributed to Scott and others statements against the death penalty from 14 faith communities in Florida, including American Baptists, Evangelical Lutherans, the Presbyterian Church, United Methodist Church, the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops and the American Jewish Committee. He said 17 states have already abolished the death penalty.

“I am confident it will happen in Florida at some point,” he said. “I hope it would be sooner rather than later.”

Mary Anne Hoffman, secretary of TCADP, read a letter from Murder Victim Families for Reconciliation calling for a halt to the Howell execution and an end to capital punishment in general.

www.tallahasseedemocrat.com

To quote Charley Reese: “When I think of all the sweet, innocent people who suffer extreme pain and who die every day in this country, then the outpouring of sympathy for cold-blooded killers enrages me. Where is your (expletive deleted) sympathy for the good, the kind and the innocent? This fixation on murderers is a sickness, a putrefaction of the soul. It's the equivalent of someone spending all day mooning and cooing over a handful of human feces. Sick and abnormal.”

Gotta love Charley's style!  8)
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Offline Grinning Grim Reaper

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Re: Paul Augustus Howell - FL - 2/26/13
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2013, 10:36:56 AM »
Paul Augustus Howell set for execution loses another appeal

12:20 PM, Feb 22, 2013

TALLAHASSEE, Florida (AP) - A judge has rejected a new appeal by a drug trafficker facing execution on Tuesday for killing a state trooper in north Florida with a pipe bomb 21 years ago.
 
Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey on Friday denied motions to vacate Paul Augustus Howell's murder conviction and death sentence in Jefferson County just east of Tallahassee.
 
Howell's lawyers also have an appeal pending in federal court in Tallahassee. The Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a prior appeal.
 
The 47-year-old native of Jamaica was convicted of killing Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Jimmy Fulford.
 The trooper stopped a car for speeding on Interstate 10. He died instantly when the bomb went off as he tried to open a gift-wrapped microwave oven he found in the car.

www.wtsp10news.com
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Offline deeg

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Re: Paul Augustus Howell - FL - 2/26/13
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2013, 12:03:40 PM »
This says it all....Ufferman wants the courts to temporarily spare the mans life AND get a new trial.  Obviously, the first is b.s. and the later the truth.   >:(

Dee
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Offline Grinning Grim Reaper

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Re: Paul Augustus Howell - FL - 2/26/13
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2013, 08:00:31 AM »
Another appeal filed in Howell's death sentence


Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2013 6:30 pm

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)--Paul Augustus Howell is scheduled to be executed Tuesday for the murder of a law enforcement officer.

Howell's attorneys have filed another appeal challenging his death sentence. The court will rule soon.

Howell was convicted of the 1992 murder of highway patrol trooper Jimmy Fulford.

He was killed during a traffic stop by an exploding pipe bomb that prosecutors say Howell built with the intention of killing a woman who had knowledge of a murder Howell committed.

www.wtxl.com
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Re: Paul Augustus Howell - FL - 2/26/13
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2013, 09:28:18 AM »
Posted on Monday, 02.25.13

Execution final act in 1992 Florida traffic stop

By BILL KACZOR
 
Associated Press
 
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- What began as a routine traffic stop on Interstate 10 in rural north Florida quickly escalated into the killing of a state trooper and launched a multi-state investigation that unraveled a major crack cocaine ring 21 years ago.

That chain of events is set to end with the execution Tuesday of South Florida drug trafficker Paul Augustus Howell for murdering Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Jimmy Fulford with a pipe bomb on Feb. 1, 1992.

Howell's execution is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Florida State Prison near Starke pending a last-ditch stay his lawyers were seeking in state and federal courts.

A former prosecutor said Fulford's death likely prevented many more because the bomb inside a gift-wrapped microwave oven was intended to go off in a crowded Marianna housing complex.

On the day he died, Fulford had stopped Lester Watson for speeding in Jefferson County just east of Tallahassee in a car Howell had rented. The trooper then arrested Watson for driving without a valid license.

After sheriff's deputies picked up Watson and a passenger, Fulford opened the package he'd found in the car's trunk as he waited on the roadside for a tow truck.

A dispatcher, meanwhile, had called Howell to ask if he knew someone else was driving his rental car more than 400 miles away.

"By the time Jimmy Fulford knelt to open that microwave with his knife, Paul Howell knew that the car had been stopped," prosecutor Thomas Kirwin told jurors in his closing argument. "But Paul Howell was in a killing mood."

Fulford, a father of two, was killed instantly when the bomb exploded. His wife, Keith Ann, asked Circuit Judge F.E. Steinmeyer to condemn Howell to death at his sentencing hearing.

"He could have chosen to tell the dispatcher to tell Trooper Fulford not to open the package," she told the judge. "What Paul Howell did was murder my husband in cold blood."

Keith Ann Fulford said she would not be attending the execution and declined further comment. After Howell's sentencing in 1995, Fulford's wife said his execution would bring "some closure and justice," but added: "It'll never be over for me, even after he's executed."

Kirwin, now the state's deputy chief financial officer for law enforcement, initially prosecuted Howell and other members of the drug ring known as the "posse" on federal charges as an assistant U.S. attorney.

Howell was convicted of drug trafficking in a Tallahassee federal court, where he received a life sentence. He was among 28 people who eventually were convicted or pleaded guilty to federal drug crimes as a result of the investigation triggered by Fulford's death.

Kirwin then was in effect loaned to the state to help Assistant State Attorney Michael Schneider with Howell's murder trial, which was moved to Pensacola because of extensive news media coverage about the case in Jefferson County. Howell was convicted of first-degree murder and making, possessing, placing, or discharging a destructive device or bomb. The jury voted 10-2 to recommend a death sentence.

"The thing that amazed me in the federal case is how broad this conspiracy was," Kirwin recalled. "Death and guns really meant nothing to the folks we had charged."

Prosecutors said Howell paid Watson $200 to deliver the bobby-trapped package to two women in the Panhandle town of Marianna with the intent of killing them because they knew too much about a drug-related murder in South Florida involving Howell's brother, Patrick, and a cousin, Michael Morgan.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/02/25/3252765/execution-final-act-in-1992-florida.html#storylink=cpy
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Offline Grinning Grim Reaper

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Re: Paul Augustus Howell - FL - 2/26/13
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2013, 10:06:39 AM »
Florida judge grants stay of execution of Jamaica man

2013-02-25 11:59:19
Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer

A day before a Jamaican man is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection in the US State of Florida, a federal judge there has granted him a temporary stay of execution.
 
Forty-seven-year-old Paul Augustus Howell was slated to be executed at the Florida State Prison for the killing of Highway Patrol Trooper Jimmy Fulford in 1992.
 
One of his attorneys Michael Ufferman revealed this morning that the judge agreed to stay the execution to allow him more time to further appeal his case.
 
But Ufferman says he expects prosecutors to file an appeal to have the ruling set aside.
 
The ruling came in response to one of several court actions filed on Howell's behalf by his attorneys, who argue that there are several factors why he should not be put to death.
 
Howell's attorneys have also asked Florida's Governor Rick Scott to withdraw the execution warrant, but to date he has not responded to the request.
 
The case has triggered debates across the State of Florida, with persons opposed to the death penalty claiming that if the execution went ahead as scheduled tomorrow, Howell would become the first Florida inmate since 2008 to die by lethal injection without receiving his final federal appeal.

www.jamaica-gleaner.com
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Re: Paul Augustus Howell - FL - 2/26/13 STAYED
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2013, 07:07:20 AM »
Killer gets temporary stay of execution


Posted: February 25, 2013 - 11:10 pm

By BILL KACZOR Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE — A federal appellate court on Monday temporarily stopped the execution of a drug trafficker convicted of killing a Florida state trooper with a pipe bomb.
 
What began as a routine traffic stop on Interstate 10 in rural north Florida quickly escalated into the killing of the trooper and launched a multi-state investigation that unraveled a major crack cocaine ring 21 years ago.
 
That chain of events was set to end with the execution Tuesday of South Florida drug trafficker Paul Augustus Howell, 47, for murdering Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Jimmy Fulford on Feb. 1, 1992.
 
The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, though, stayed the execution that was scheduled for 6 p.m. at Florida State Prison near Starke until it could hear the merits of Howell’s case. The Florida Supreme Court and Chief U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rogers both denied last-ditch pleas to stop the execution, but Rogers earlier Monday certified Howell’s appeal to the 11th U.S. Circuit.
 
Howell’s attorneys contend his trial lawyer, now a state circuit judge, had a conflict of interest and failed to find and present mitigating evidence that could have persuaded his jury to recommend a life sentence rather than the death penalty. His initial appellate lawyer then failed to present those arguments in federal court because she missed a filing deadline more than 10 years ago.
 
A former prosecutor said Fulford’s death likely prevented many more because the bomb inside a gift-wrapped microwave oven was intended to go off in a crowded Marianna housing complex.
 
On the day he died, Fulford had stopped Lester Watson for speeding in Jefferson County just east of Tallahassee in a car Howell had rented. The trooper then arrested Watson for driving without a valid license.
 
After sheriff’s deputies picked up Watson and a passenger, Fulford opened the package he’d found in the car’s trunk as he waited on the roadside for a tow truck.
 
A dispatcher, meanwhile, had called Howell to ask if he knew someone else was driving his rental car more than 400 miles away.
 
“By the time Jimmy Fulford knelt to open that microwave with his knife, Paul Howell knew that the car had been stopped,” prosecutor Thomas Kirwin told jurors in his closing argument. “But Paul Howell was in a killing mood.”
 
Fulford, a father of two, was killed instantly when the bomb exploded. His wife, Keith Ann, asked Circuit Judge F.E. Steinmeyer to condemn Howell to death at his sentencing hearing.
 
“He could have chosen to tell the dispatcher to tell Trooper Fulford not to open the package,” she told the judge. “What Paul Howell did was murder my husband in cold blood.”
 
Keith Ann Fulford said she would not be attending the execution and declined further comment. After Howell’s sentencing in 1995, Fulford’s wife said his execution would bring “some closure and justice,” but added: “It’ll never be over for me, even after he’s executed.”
 
Kirwin, now the state’s deputy chief financial officer for law enforcement, initially prosecuted Howell and other members of the drug ring known as the “posse” on federal charges as an assistant U.S. attorney.
 
Howell was convicted of drug trafficking in a Tallahassee federal court, where he received a life sentence. He was among 28 people who eventually were convicted or pleaded guilty to federal drug crimes as a result of the investigation triggered by Fulford’s death.
 
Kirwin then was in effect loaned to the state to help Assistant State Attorney Michael Schneider with Howell’s murder trial, which was moved to Pensacola because of extensive news media coverage about the case in Jefferson County. Howell was convicted of first-degree murder and making, possessing, placing, or discharging a destructive device or bomb. The jury voted 10-2 to recommend a death sentence.
 
“The thing that amazed me in the federal case is how broad this conspiracy was,” Kirwin recalled. “Death and guns really meant nothing to the folks we had charged.”
 
Prosecutors said Howell paid Watson $200 to deliver the bobby-trapped package to two women in the Panhandle town of Marianna with the intent of killing them because they knew too much about a drug-related murder in South Florida involving Howell’s brother, Patrick, and a cousin, Michael Morgan.
 
Howell and other Jamaican immigrants who formed the drug ring distributed crack from their Fort Lauderdale area base across Florida and into Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas.
 
The booby-trapped microwave was intended for Yolanda McAlister, who had formed a relationship with Patrick Howell when he visited Marianna to deliver drugs, and Tammie Bailey, Morgan’s girlfriend, who also had a child with him.
 
Patrick Howell also was charged with Fulford’s slaying, but he pleaded no contest to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole for at least 25 years. That term, though, is consecutive to a life sentence he’s serving in federal prison for drug trafficking. Morgan also was sentenced to life on a federal drug conviction.
 
Watson pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and is serving a 40-year prison sentence.
 
Paul Howell’s court-appointed lawyer was Frank Sheffield, now a circuit judge in Tallahassee. He argued at trial that the state failed to prove Howell, a former Army electronics technician, made the bomb or was involved in drug dealing.
 
Prosecutors, though, showed jurors labels and pieces of a microwave oven found in Howell’s Lauderhill home, which experts testified were missing from the microwave that exploded. Other evidence found in his home included tools and bomb-making materials and an Army field manual on making explosives.
 
In a phone call, Paul Howell had asked Bailey what she and the baby needed, Kirwin said.
 
“She needed a microwave to heat the baby’s food,” Kirwin said. “He said ‘I’ll send you one.’”
 
Bailey and her baby certainly would have been killed and probably many others if the bomb had gone off in her apartment, Kirwin said. He said it was so powerful that bits of the bomb were found in the eastbound lanes of I-10 on the opposite side of a westbound exit ramp where it exploded.
 
“I don’t think Paul Howell gave two cents for how many people died,” Kirwin said. “He was just interested in saving his own bacon.”

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Vengence is mine saith the Lord...who are we to question the instruments used to carry it out?