PENSACOLA, FL (WKRG) — Florida prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for the man accused of murdering 12-year-old Naomi Jones.
Florida State Attorney Bill Eddins said in a press conference Tuesday, “After reviewing the aggravating circumstances some of which consisted of a kidnapping as an element of the offense as well as, 2 convictions for prior violent sexual batteries, we determined that it was appropriate to seek the death penalty and as a result we will be seeking the death penalty for Robert Howard. His arraignment for the indictment is scheduled for June 30th and we will be filing a written notice of the aggravating circumstances that we will be considering with in the next few weeks.”
Eddins says Robert Howard faces capital murder in the death of Jones, who Eddins confirmed died of asphyxiation.
Eddins explained what it meant for someone to be convicted of 1st degree premeditated murder under Florida Law. He said, “when the penalty is either life in prison without any chance of parole or death, we must prove that it was either premeditated or that it was done during one of several enumerating felonies. One of those felonies would be kidnapping. The indictment charge is either that the death occurred during the kidnapping and are fully formed conscience intent to take her life.”
Howard is a convicted sex offender who reportedly lied to authorities about his whereabouts at the time of Jones’ disappearance. Authorities say he was in the area when Jones disappeared, though more indisputable evidence has not been made public as the investigation has continued to develop.
Eddins says an additional tests are being conducted on Jones’ body to determine any further charges. He won’t confirm whether or not Jones was sexually abused before or after her death.
The case can take between 18 to 24 months to go to court.