Escapee Gets Death For Woman's Murder

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - An escapee from a South Carolina prison who stabbed a mother to death in front of her three young children nearly three years ago was sentenced Thursday to death.

James Turner was convicted last year of first-degree murder in the stabbing Renee Howard 15 times in a room at the Comfort Inn just off Interstate 95 at state Road 207 on Sept. 30, 2005.

Turner also attacked Howard's friend, who locked herself in the bathroom to get away from him.

St. Johns County deputies said he attacked Howard in order to steal her pickup truck, which he used to leave the scene and ram a patrol car as he was being pursued by deputies.

In December, a St. Johns County jury who found Turner guilty of first-degree murder voted 10-2 to recommend that he be given the death penalty.

Turner sat quietly as Judge Wendy Berger announced the sentence, but Howard's mother broke down in tears.

"I wanted, honestly, for him, finally to admit what he did and, maybe, apologize," said Howard's sister, Andrea Yow. "Not that it would take it away, but it would make me feel so much better that he realized what he did and, make me feel like he was a little bit sorry."

In addition to the death sentence on the murder conviction, Turner was also ordered to serve between five years and life in prison on charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault, home-invasion robbery and grand theft.

After the hearing, the victim's family left to visit Howard's grave and tell their daughter and sister that Turner will pay for his crime.

They told Channel 4's Adam Landau they hope to only see Turner one more time -- in the execution chamber.

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