Update: February 23, 2014
The Florida Supreme Court has approved midazolam for use during the execution of Florida death row inmate Paul Howell. Midazolam has been successfully used in several previous Florida executions. It was also used during unusually long execution of Ohio inmate Dennis McGuire, although the drugs are used differently in each state. Paul and his attorneys are arguing that midazolam does not fully render the inmate unconscious before they are injected with the drugs that end their life. The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that Paul and his attorneys failed to demonstrate that the drug poses a "substantial risk of serious harm." Paul and his attorneys plan to appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States.
February 13, 2014
Paul Augustus Howell’s execution is scheduled for 6 pm EST, on February 26, 2014, at the Florida State Prison near Raiford, Florida. Forty-eight-year-old Paul is convicted of murdering Police Trooper Jimmy Fulford with a homemade pipe bomb on February 1, 1992. Paul has been on death row for the past 18 years.
Paul was born on June 25, 1965, in Nine Miles in Spauldings, Claredon, Jamaica. Paul received a Christian upbringing in a Pentecostal Church while in Jamaica. When Paul was 12, he and his family immigrated to the United States. Paul actively served in the United States’ military for a time, before being honorably discharged. Paul had been married, had a child, and a steady job before becoming involved in a drug ring.
By 1992, Paul was living in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and was actively involved in a Jamaican drug ring. Paul was responsible for transporting drugs from Ft. Lauderdale to Marianna, Florida. In August of 1991, Paul and his brother, Patrick, were involved in a drug related murder. Tammie Bailey, who lived in Marianna, was also involved in the drug ring and knew about the murder. Paul feared that Tammie would tell police about the murder, and therefore wanted her eliminated.
On February 1, 1992, Paul built a bomb, placed it in a microwave, and wrapped it like a present. Paul rented a vehicle for his friend, Lester Watson, to drive the “present” to Tammie’s house. Lester knew that Paul built bombs, but was under the impression that drugs were in the “present” since Paul ensured that no finger prints were on the box. Unbeknownst to Paul, Lester picked up a friend, Curtis Williams, while driving to Tammie’s house.
Trooper Jimmy Fulford stopped the rented vehicle for speeding. When Trooper Fulford ran a registration check, he discovered that the vehicle had been rented to Paul. Lester, who was driving, was unable to produce a valid driver’s license. Paul was contacted by the police to determine if the vehicle had been stolen. Paul was also informed that Lester had been taken to Jefferson County Jail. At no time during the conversation did Paul indicate that there was a bomb in the vehicle. Two sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene to escort Lester and Curtis to jail. Before leaving, Lester gave Trooper Fulford permission to search the vehicle. During the search, Trooper Fulford discovered the wrapped present. After the deputies had left, a massive explosion occurred. Trooper Fulford was killed instantly. Evidence suggests that he had been holding the bomb when it exploded.
Paul was arrested, charged, and convicted of murder. Lester was convicted of 2nd degree murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Patrick Howell received a life sentence with eligibility of parole after 25 years.
Paul had been scheduled for execution last year, however, he was granted an indefinite stay of execution by the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals. That stay has since been lifted, allowing Florida Governor Rick Scott to sign a new execution warrant.
Please pray for peace for the family of Jimmy Fulford. Please pray for peace and strength for the family of Paul Howell. Please pray that Paul may find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already found one.