FLORIDA (USA): PAUL AUGUSTUS HOWELL EXECUTED
February 26, 2014: Paul Augustus Howell, 48, Black, was executed.
Howell, a native of Jamaica and a drug trafficker, had been sentenced to death on January 10, 1995. He placed a pipe bomb in a gift-wrapped microwave oven in a plot to kill 2 potential murder witnesses, bur Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Jimmy Fulford became the unintended victim. Howell built a bomb in his home and placed it in a microwave oven. He then paid another man, Lester Watson, $200 to deliver the box across-state to Tammie Bailey who, along with a friend, Yolanda McAllister, could tie Howell to a drug-related murder, according to the records. But along the way, on Feb. 1, 1992, Fulford pulled Watson over for speeding 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. Fulford's death prompted a state and federal investigation that broke apart a drug ring and led to the indictment of 28 people. Howell was sentenced to life on federal drug charges. He was then convicted on state charges of murder and handed the death sentence. 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 2nd degree murder and is serving a 40-year sentence. Howell's brother Patrick, who helped him build the bomb, was convicted of 1st-degree murder and sentenced to life.
This was the 5th execution in the state using the new drug, midazolam hydrochloride, as part of a 3-drug mix. Howell becomse the 3rd inmate to be put to death this year in Florida, the 84th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1979, the 10th inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 1369th overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17, 1977. (Sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin, 26/02/2014)