Saturday, August 9, 2008

New evidence: Could it stop Lake County execution?

Stephen Hudak Sentinel Staff Writer
August 9, 2008

Lawyers for condemned killer Richard Henyard, bidding to stop his Sept. 23 execution, claimed Friday that they have new evidence that he didn't fire the shots that killed two Lake County children in 1993.

The new evidence is a sworn statement from another convicted Lake County killer, Jason Nawara, once a jail podmate of Henyard's accomplice, Alfonza Smalls.

In a handwritten affidavit, Nawara, serving 50 years for the rape and murder of his 10-year-old stepsister, said Smalls often boasted to other juvenile inmates, "I'm a killa, you just a car thief."

Smalls, not eligible for the death penalty because of his youth, is serving a life sentence in the carjacking, rape and attempted first-degree murder of Dorothy Lewis and the murders of Lewis' daughters, Jamilya, 7, and Jasmine, 3. Henyard was sentenced to death for the crimes.

Henyard's appellate lawyers cited Nawara's affidavit in a request for an evidentiary hearing that could put off the execution. But Assistant State Attorney Bill Gross said Nawara's claim would not diminish Henyard's role in "an atrocious crime" that he plotted, committed and bragged about. Circuit Judge Mark Hill said he would rule next week.

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