Starke, Florida: 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 for the 1992 death of a Florida highway officer who became the unintended victim.
Paul Augustus Howell, 48, was pronounced dead Wednesday evening following a lethal injection at the Florida State Prison in Starke, the office of Gov. Rick Scott said in an email.
Howell, a native of Jamaica, was condemned for the killing of Jimmy Fulford on Feb. 1, 1992, when the package exploded during a traffic stop.
When the prison curtain opened revealing the execution witnesses, Howell opened his eyes wide and lifted his head to stare at those gathered. He began praying.
Asked if he had any words, he apologized to Fulford's family and gave a two-minute statement detailing the events of the crime and placing blame on a friend for letting the bomb go off.
No one from Fulford's family witnessed the execution or gave a statement.
Howell built the bomb in his home and placed it in the microwave oven, court documents stated. He then paid another man, Lester Watson, $200 to deliver the box to a woman who, along with a friend, could tie Howell to a drug-related murder, according to the records.
But Fulford pulled Watson over for speeding, and the bomb was never delivered to the intended target. Instead, Watson was arrested after giving a false name and birthdate. Watson also gave Fulford permission to search the car rented in Howell's name.