Catholics issue plea to Gov. Scott on scheduled execution

3:35 PM, Feb 25, 2013   |    comments
Image courtesy Florida Department of Corrections.
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TALLAHASSEE, Florida - Florida plans to execute 42-year-old Paul Howell on Tuesday.

He was convicted of constructing a pipe bomb that killed Trooper Jimmy Fulford in 1992.

Howell's attorneys say he would be the first person to be executed in Florida without getting a chance to have his case reviewed in federal court.

Florida's Catholic bishops are calling on Gov. Rick Scott to stay the execution. Spokeswoman Sheila Hopkins says the governor could require Howell to remain in prison the rest of his life.

"We believe every life has dignity and executions are just another form of violence. We certainly feel great concern and compassion for Trooper Fulford and his family, his friends, his colleagues. This is a tragedy and we hope they will have some peace in their life."

Hopkins says more states are abolishing the death penalty or reconsidering it.

"I think it's encouraging in the last five years, five states have abolished the use of the death penalty. Right now there are seven states that are also reconsidering it given that it's a costly exercise, the arbitrariness of it, the potential that someone is innocent."

In Florida, Rep. Matt Gaetz says it doesn't make sense to allow inmates to remain on death row for 30 years. He's pushing legislation that would speed up the death penalty process by limiting the time allowed for court reviews.

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