The Commission on Capital Cases updates this information regularly. This information, however, is subject to change and may not reflect the latest status of an inmate’s case and should not be relied upon for statistical or legal purposes.


HOWELL, Paul (B/M)

DC #    123792

DOB:   06/25/65


Second Judicial Circuit, Jefferson County, Case # 92-22

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable F. E. Steinmeyer

Trial Attorney: Frank Sheffield – Private

Attorney, Direct Appeal: Robert A. Norgard – Private

Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Clyde Taylor – Registry


Date of Offense:           02/01/92

Date of Sentence:         01/10/95



Circumstances of the Offense:


Paul Howell made a bomb in January of 1992 for the specific purpose of murdering Tammie Bailey at her Marianna, Florida, home.  Howell, Bailey and Howell’s brother, Patrick, were involved in a drug ring that transported drugs from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, to be sold in Marianna.  Bailey could link Howell and his brother to a prior murder; therefore, Howell intended to eliminate Bailey as a witness.  After constructing the bomb, Howell placed it in a microwave oven and wrapped it so that it looked like a present. Howell commissioned Lester Watson to drive to Bailey’s house and deliver the present.  Watson had knowledge that Howell made pipe bombs; however, he suspected that drugs were in the microwave.  Watson drove in a car rented by Howell and was accompanied by Curtis Williams. 


Trooper Jimmy Fulford stopped Watson for speeding on I-10 on his way to Marianna.  Fulford ran a registration check, but when he asked for Watson’s license, Watson gave him a false name and date of birth due to his lack of a valid driver’s license.  When Fulford called into dispatch, they relayed to him that the car had been rented to Howell.  Dispatch contacted Howell who, when asked if the rental car was stolen, relayed that he had loaned the vehicle to Watson, but claimed he was unaware that he would traveling so far from his home in Ft. Lauderdale.  Dispatch told Howell that Watson would be taken to the Jefferson County Jail; however, Howell did not give any indication to dispatch that there was a bomb in the car.


Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department deputies Harrell and Blount arrived at the scene and were granted permission by Watson to search the car.  The deputies and Trooper Fulford noticed the gift-wrapped package in the trunk.  Watson was arrested for driving without a valid license and speeding.  The deputies took him, along with Williams, to the jail.  Trooper Fulford was left alone with the car and, shortly thereafter, there was a massive explosion at the scene.  The State’s explosive expert testified at trial that Fulford was holding the package when the bomb detonated.  Fulford’s instantaneous death was a direct result of massive trauma from the explosion. 


Howell was arrested and charged with the murder of Trooper Fulford and the venue of the trial was transferred from Jefferson County to Escambia County.



Codefendant Information:


Lester Watson, the driver of the vehicle, was convicted of Second-Degree Murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison.  The defendant’s brother, Patrick Howell, is serving a life sentence without eligibility of parole for 25 years for his involvement in the murder.



Trial Summary:


02/19/92          Defendant indicted with the following:

Count I:            First-Degree Murder                   

                                    Count II:           Making, Possessing, Placing, or Discharging a

                                                            Destructive Device 

                                    Count III:         Making, Possessing, Placing, or Discharging a

                                                            Destructive Device 

                                    Count IV:         Possession of an Explosive Device 

10/18/94          Defendant was found guilty by the trial jury of Counts I and II

10/21/94          The jury recommended Death by a vote of 10 to 2 for both Counts I and II

01/10/95          Defendant was sentenced as follows:

                                    Count I:            First-Degree Murder – Death                             

                                    Count II:           Making, Possessing, Placing, or Discharging a

                                                            Destructive Device – Death

                                    Count III:         Making, Possessing, Placing, or Discharging a

                                                            Destructive Device – Nolle Prosequi

                                    Count IV:         Possession of an Explosive Device – Nolle Prosequi



Appeal Summary:


Florida State Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC #85,193

707 So. 2d 674


02/20/95          Appeal filed.

02/12/98          FSC affirmed the conviction and sentence.

03/16/98          Mandate issued.


United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Certiorari

USSC #97-9042

524 U.S. 958


05/11/98          Petition filed.

06/26/98          Petition denied.


State Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC #92-22


08/30/99          Motion filed.

01/02/03          Motion denied.


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Appeal

FSC #SC03-103

877 So. 2d 697


01/22/03          Appeal filed.

05/06/04          FSC affirmed denial of 3.850 Motion.

06/25/04          Rehearing denied.

07/26/04          Mandate issued.


U.S. District Court. Northern District – Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus

USDC# 04-299


07/26/04          Petition filed.

12/01/04          USDC dismissed Petition.


U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit – Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Appeal

USCA# 04-16542

415 F. 3d 1250


12/22/04          Appeal filed.

07/06/05          USCA affirmed dismissal of Petition.

08/16/05          Mandate issued.


U.S. Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Certiorari

USSC# 05-7406

126 S. Ct. 1059


10/28/05          Petition filed.

01/09/06          USSC denied petition.



Case Information:


A Direct Appeal was filed on 02/20/95. Issues that were raised included whether the trial court erred in refusing to appoint alternate counsel and in refusing to appoint a second attorney and whether the trial court erred in allowing several of the statutory aggravating circumstances that the trial court found applicable to the murder.  The Florida Supreme Court found all of these claims either without merit or harmless and affirmed the conviction and sentence of death on 02/12/98.


A Petition for Writ of Certiorari was filed on 05/11/98 and denied on 06/26/98. 


A 3.850 motion was filed with the circuit court on 08/30/99 and denied on 01/02/03. 


A 3.850 Appeal was filed with the Florida Supreme Court on 01/22/03, citing allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel and Ring claims.  On 05/06/04, the denial of the 3.850 Motion was affirmed.


A Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus was filed with the U.S. District Court, Northern District on 07/26/04 that was dismissed on 12/01/04. 


A Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Appeal was filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit on 12/22/04.  On 07/08/05, the USCA affirmed the dismissal of the Petition.    


A Petition for Writ of Certiorari was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on 10/28/05 and was denied on 01/09/06.



Institutional Adjustment:





DATE     DAYS                    VIOLATION                                         LOCATION      

05/17/00      0                         UNARMED ASSAULT                      UNION C. I.        



Report Date:     01/08/02          cc

Approved:        01/24/02          ws

Updated:          03/16/07          jfl