Paul Augustus Howell 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 February 26, 2014 for the 1992 death of a Florida highway trooper who became the unintended victim, reported the Associated Press.
Howell 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.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.
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