Convicted hotel killer set to appeal death sentence

James Turner convicted in 2005 murder of Renee Howard in St. Johns County

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Department of Corrections photo of James Turner

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - A man sentenced to death for stabbing and killing a 37-year-old Crescent Beach woman at a hotel in 2005 is appealing his conviction and sentence with the Florida Supreme Court.

James Turner was convicted of killing Renee Howard in September 2005 at a Comfort Inn on State Road 207 in St. Johns County.

Turner, an escaped convict from South Carolina, was pursued and captured after jumping off Deep Creek Bridge about 10 miles away.

He was convicted of murder and the stabbing of a second woman who survived, and eventually sentenced to death.

St. Johns County deputies said it was a random act of violence. They said Turner wanted Howard's SUV.

All of Turner's appeals have been denied so far. There's a hearing Dec. 14 regarding the appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.

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