Death Penalty Upheld in North Florida Bomb Case

Trooper Jimmy Fulford died in 1992 after he searched the trunk of a car on Interstate Ten in Jefferson County.

As he was searching he triggered a bomb concealed in a microwave oven. The device was intended for a Marianna woman who was part of a drug distribution scheme, but the man delivering the bomb was pulled over for speeding about two hours away from his intended target.

Thirty-nine-year-old Paul Augustus Howell of Fort Lauderdale was convicted of building the bomb and was sent to death row in 1995. Howell's latest attorney argued that he should be granted a new trial because the original lawyer was ineffective and because trooper Fulford violated Highway Patrol policy by conducting an illegal search.

The state's highest court rejected those arguments and upheld the sentence of death.