Monday, August 13, 2007
(CBS4) FT. LAUDERDALE The re-sentencing phase for convicted child killer Howard Steven Ault began Monday in a Ft. Lauderdale courtroom.
At issue, whether Ault should be sentenced to life in prison or death by lethal injection.
The forty-one year-old Ault was sentenced to death in 2000 after he was convicted of killing two sisters, DeAnn and Alicia Jones, and then stuffing their bodies in his Fort Lauderdale attic.
Ault was on supervised community release for a 1988 sex crime when he befriended Donna Jones, the girls' mother. Ault helped Jones with odd chores, offered to fix her car and often brought snacks to the girls.
On November 4th, 1996 Ault picked the girls up at school and said if they went with him back to his place they could have candy. Two days later, Ault confessed to police that he had sexually assaulted DeAnn while Alicia watched helplessly, then strangled them both. He then told investigators where he had hidden their bodies.
Our news partners at the Miami Herald report Ault likely would have been in jail at the time of DeAnn and Alicia's murders if the Broward County Sheriff's Office's sex crimes unit had followed through on a complaint by an 11-year-old girl who reported 10 months before the murders that Ault had tried to assault her. Internal affairs investigators later recommended that the two investigators who handled the case be dismissed.
In 2003, the Florida Supreme Court overturned his death sentence when they unanimously ruled that a potential juror who opposed capital punishment was wrongly dismissed during the sentencing phase.