A notorious double child killer is set to be executed over the infamous 1996 murders of two young black sisters.

According to Mail Online, Howard Steven Ault, 57, was initially sentenced to death in 2000, but several legal challenges and changes to Florida’s death row process have meant two further juries have weighed in, culminating in a 9-3 vote this week to execute him.

30 years ago, Howard lured DeAnn Emerald Mu’min, 11, and her younger sister, Alicia Sybilla Jones, 7, to his home with the promise of Halloween candy.

Jurors deliberated for two days before voting 9-3 to sentence Ault to death again, with his fate decided by the non-unanimous ruling thanks to a new law introduced by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

The governor signed a bill in April allowing the death penalty in his state to be approved with a jury vote as low as 8-4.

Ault has been imprisoned since his arrest shortly after the murders but has been on-and-off death row several times despite his heinous crime.

Three years after his initial conviction in 2000, the Florida Supreme Court ordered Ault to undergo a retrial over concerns about the jury selection in his trial.
He was then resentenced in 2007 for the murders of the young girls in a 9-3 vote, and he sat on death row for over a decade until another Florida Supreme Court ruling in 2017.

The court found Florida’s death penalty process was unconstitutional as it did not require jurors to make a unanimous decision.

With Ault waiting for yet another sentencing hearing, the case was complicated by the 2018 Parkland school shooting, as the gunman who killed 17 was spared the death penalty as the jury only voted 12-9 for death.

Amid outrage over the jury’s vote, DeSantis pushed for lowering the threshold, ultimately leading to Ault’s third death sentence this week.

According to a New York Times article from after his arrest in 1996, Ault was known as a longtime sex offender in the state of Florida who was on house arrest for an unrelated sex crime involving another child at the time of the sisters’ murders.
He quickly confessed to the killings and led investigators to their bodies in the attic of his building.

His arrest sparked outrage as many questioned why a convicted child predator was able to have contact with the young girls, with Ault owning a 10-year criminal record at the time.

In 1986, he was charged in connection with a violent attack on a couple on a beach, for which he was handed three years’ probation.
Within two years, he pleaded guilty to attempted burglary and the attempted sexual battery of a 12-year-old girl, which landed him a seven-year prison sentence.

However, Ault was released after just three years and nine months due to prison overcrowding.

Then in 1994, he pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and sexual activity with a six-year-old child who lived in his neighborhood – which he was sentenced to house arrest for.

He was also accused on New Year’s Eve in 1995 of attempting to rape an 11-year-old neighbour but was never arrested over the alleged crime.

At the funeral for the sisters he murdered, fury over the system that allowed him to re-offend was palpable.

Although, a jury has voted to sentence him to death for the third time, but he will still be subject to formal sentencing by a judge.

He is scheduled for a status hearing on April 11.