STARKE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Paul Augustus Howell, who was sent to Death Row for the 1992 murder of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper, was executed Wednesday at Florida State Prison near Stark.
Howell, 48, was pronounced dead at 6:32 p.m., according to the Gov. Rick Scott’s office.
Howell, who had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as his final meal, was the 15th Death Row inmate executed in Florida since Scott took office in 2011. There were five executions during former Gov. Charlie Crist’s single term and 21 during the two terms of former Gov. Jeb Bush.
Howell was convicted in January 1995 in the death of FHP trooper Jimmy Fulford during a traffic stop three years earlier.
Fulford was killed by a pipe bomb that Howell had put inside a microwave oven and placed in a gift-wrapped package. The bomb was intended for a Marianna woman who could identify Howell, who with his brother was involved in a South Florida drug ring, for a prior murder.
On Feb. 13 of this year, Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey ruled that a new lethal-injection drug used by the state would not violate Howell’s rights.
The hearing, held in Jefferson County Circuit Court at the direction of the Florida Supreme Court, focused on the state’s use of midazolam hydrochloride as the first drug in a three-drug cocktail in executions. Midazolam, which the state began using last year, is supposed to anesthetize prisoners before the other drugs are administered.
Howell’s attorneys contended that the inmate has medical conditions that would lead to the drug not working properly, violating the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Tallahassee Citizens Against the Death Penalty are scheduled to hold a service of remembrance at noon Thursday at the Florida Capitol, according to the Division of Management Services.
“The News Service of Florida’s contributed to this report.”