Monday, September 8, 2008

Florida Death Row Appeal

The Florida Supreme Court is considering a last-ditch appeal from a convicted child killer who told a woman he was Satan after raping her and killing her two young daughters in 1993.

Richard Henyard is scheduled to die by lethal injection September 23rd. He was 18 years old when he committed the crimes in Lake County.

Monday his attorney argued before the Supreme Court that Henyard should get a formal hearing based on new evidence from a prison inmate.

The prisoner claims the other defendant in the murder case, Alfonza Smalls, took responsibility for the shootings. Smalls was only 14 years old at the time and received a life sentence because of his age.

A trial judge previously denied the request for a new hearing. The Supreme Court justices did not immediately rule on that request.

Gruber also argues the courts should take a closer look at Florida’s lethal injection process. Florida corrections officials changed the state’s death chamber protocols following the botched execution of Angel Diaz in 2006.

Henyard abducted Dorothy Lewis and her three-year-old and seven year-old daughters from a Eustis grocery store 15 years ago. Henyard and Smalls raped Lewis and then Henyard shot her several times and left her for dead, but she somehow survived. When her two daughters, Jasmine and Jamilya, kept crying and calling “Mommy,” Henyard shot both and dumped their bodies into underbrush along the road.

When Lewis prayed to Jesus for help, Henyard said, quote, “This ain’t Jesus, this is Satan,” according to court records.

Lewis is now a teacher and pastor in central Florida. She has declined to talk about the death warrant signed for Henyard.

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