Nigel Gardner (left) and his lawyer, Mike Davis in District Judge Elizabeth Coker's Court on December 6, 2011.
Nigel Gardner Gets 75 Years for Howell Murder, LIVINGSTON, December 6, 2011 - On the afternoon of December 6, 2011, District Judge, Elizabeth Coker handed down 75 years hard time to Nigel Gardner for the October 2010 murder of 58 year old Raymond Howell. Additionally, Gardner received 10 years for retaliation. Gardner was convicted of murder on October 17, 2011 by a Polk County Jury. On October 5, 2010, Gardner (in apparent retaliation) shot Raymond Howell in the head in Howell's home, killing Howell. Gardner then drug Howell's body to a car and drove it to a remote site in Polk County where he set the car ablaze in an effort to dispose of Howell's body. A volunteer fireman spotted the smoke from the burning car. Polk County Criminal District Attorney, William Lee Hon pled his case to Judge Coker to dole out maximum punishment to Gardner; "...it was a murder motivated totally by selfishness and greed", Hon said. Among other choice things, Hon stated that "...he has led a life that is totally without redeeming value and nothing constructive". Hon spoke at length about Gardner's criminal history, prison time, drug use, and even his adulterous lifestyle while he was married.
Judge Coker's punishment was harsh as she handed down 75 years. Gardner must serve a minimum of 30 years before he can be eligible for parole.