Paul Howell Execution: Family of slain Florida trooper, Jimmy Fulford, waiting for 'justice'

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The convicted drug dealer who murdered a Florida Highway Patrol trooper in 1992 was scheduled to be put to death on Tuesday.

Lawyers for Paul Howell were able to get a last-minute stay for the man who made a bomb that ended up exploding and killing FHP trooper Jimmy Fulford.

The trooper's family is still waiting for what they call justice.

John Fulford, a cousin of the killed trooper and a former Palm Beach County Sheriff's Deputy, has spent the last two decades hoping for the closure he said he desperately needs.

"That could have been me out there, that could have been any other law enforcement officer. Unfortunately it just happened to be a member of my family," he said.

John and Jimmy are not only joined by family, but they are also together in the brotherhood of law enforcement.

"He was doing his job. That's all he was doing. He was here one minute, and then next minute was gone. He never knew what hit him," said Fulford.

While clearing a car Jimmy Fulford had pulled over just outside of Tallahassee on I-10, a microwave that had a bomb inside it exploded. Investigators said Paul Howell had planted the bomb which was intended to kill a few witnesses that were set to testify against him on prior crime.

Howell was convicted of murdering Jimmy Fulford and sentenced to death a few years after being arrested.

"Howell got 19 more years of life than my cousin because he's been sitting on death row for 19 years. I'm just glad it's finally coming to fruition," said John.

Governor Rick Scott signed Howell's death warrant in early 2013. On Tuesday, the  42-year-old was scheduled to be executed barring any last minute stay.

It will be the end to a case John Fulford has held dear to his heart for more than 20 years.

"It's going to be a relief that it's finally over and I can go on with my life. And I hope Jimmy finds peace where ever he is," said John.
 
Howell was set to be executed at 6:00 p.m. at the Florida State Prison in Raiford Tuesday. The wait for his family for justice will continue.

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