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Not by the numbers

Does the Orlando Sentinel really expect anyone to feel sorry for Richard Henyard?

TAVARES - Richard Henyard was born two months after Gary Alvord was condemned to die.

Yet Henyard, 34, scheduled for execution this month for the murders of two Lake County girls, leapt ahead of 198 other Florida killers sentenced to death before him, including Alvord, 61, who has resided on death row longer than any other inmate in the nation.

Why Henyard now?

"I'm not able to answer that question," said lawyer Mark S. Gruber, who again asked the Florida Supreme Court on Monday to spare Henyard's life. "There's no plain or clear explanation. It's a process shrouded in secrecy and a topic of much speculation in our office."

Florida has no "hard formula set down on paper" to decide who's next, said Sterling Ivey, spokesman for Gov. Charlie Crist, who signed Henyard's death warrant July 9, a week after the state executed Mark Dean Schwab, a child killer who had been on death row 16 years.

But it's clearly not first-come, first-served in Florida, which has the nation's second-largest death-row population (388 inmates), behind California (667) and ahead of Texas (361).

Fifty-six Florida inmates have been on the state's death row a decade or longer than Henyard, who arrived in August 1994.

Florida has executed 65 inmates since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. Henyard is to die by lethal injection at 6 p.m. Sept. 23.

Oh please, cry me a river. Henyard has been on death row 15 years, he's had plenty of freedom compared to some of his victims.

He and 14-year-old co-defendant Alfonza Smalls carjacked Dorothy Lewis and her daughters, Jamilya, 7, and Jasmine, 3, from the parking lot of a Eustis grocery Jan. 30, 1993; raped and shot the mother four times in front of her screaming daughters; and then shot the girls at close range.

An autopsy revealed the 3-year-old's eyes were wide open when the child was shot in the face.

The two girls Henyard murdered, lived a total of 10 years. Henyard spent 15 years on death row. Was the Orlando Sentinel's Stephen Hudak expecting any sympathy for this living piece of excrement?

The murder victims' mother is alive today. What is opinion about Henyard?

Dorothy Lewis, who survived the attacks, is now a pastor. She did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment for this article, but she has previously opposed the death penalty for her attackers.

"It won't bring back my girls," she told the Orlando Sentinel in July.

I have mixed feelings towards the death penalty. Feeling it should be used for the most heinous murders. What Richard Henyard did certainly qualifies for this.

However the mother is opposed to the man being put to death. She Dorothy Lewis who suffered the most from Henyard's crimes, doesn't want the man put to death. Under such circumstances, I would commute the man's sentence to life without a chance of parole. Prisons are not a very friendly place for child killers. Let Henyard spend the rest of his life just trying to survive in prison.

What do Wizbang readers think?


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Comments (18)

If he has been on death row... (Below threshold)

If he has been on death row for 15 years, that's 15 years too long. For him, they should bring back the fine old Transylvanian custom of death by impalement.

Dorothy Lewis is not the on... (Below threshold)

Dorothy Lewis is not the one who suffered the most. Those little girls did. They are not here to pardon the man, but they are the only voices to which I would listen.

I sympathize with Dorothy L... (Below threshold)

I sympathize with Dorothy Lewis for going through such things as I cannot even imagine; however he murdered those children. They did not get to live their lives, and lack the ability to speak now. They deserve as much justice as the system can reasonably provide, and the sentence of death seems very much appropriate.

It does not seem appropriate that such a man should get to die potentially peacefully in his sleep, and it is better for the society that demanded it to enforce the penalty rather then some prison thugs.

BCook summed up my opinion ... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:

BCook summed up my opinion quite nicely.

Execute him. The victim's f... (Below threshold)

Execute him. The victim's feelings about the appropriateness of the sentence have no place in our penal system. That way lies lynching-by-indirection. Consider: suppose he'd been sentenced to life without parole and she wanted him executed? What then?

Francis is absolutely corre... (Below threshold)

Francis is absolutely correct. He was sentenced to die, he deserves to die, he should die. Get on with it already.

Unrestricted abortion on de... (Below threshold)

Unrestricted abortion on demand for everybody, but oh, the tragedy if we execute a rightfully convicted rapist and child-killer.

Excuse me, but WTF? This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a collective whine.

However the mother... (Below threshold)
kbiel Author Profile Page:
However the mother is opposed to the man being put to death. She Dorothy Lewis who suffered the most from Henyard's crimes, doesn't want the man put to death. Under such circumstances, I would commute the man's sentence to life without a chance of parole.
No, no, a thousand times no. The death penalty is not about getting even or making the victims feel better or giving them the revenge they desire. If that were so, then we wouldn't have the death penalty at all since the direct victims of murderers are, by definition, dead. The death penalty's sole purpose is to protect a society from those who would destroy it. Hence we have the death penalty for treason as well as murder. (And I would argue that we should have it for child rape, damn the SCOTUS.)
This human wasteland should... (Below threshold)

This human wasteland should have been executed long ago. He's lucky to have had 15 years sucking up valuable oxygen and then converting it to CO2, which we all know is a horrible green house gas. If he was dead we'd have a lower carbon footprint. Hell, the left should be screaming for his execution to save Mother Gaia.

Ofcourse, I really want him dead for being a child-murdering rapist and all around piece of $h!t.

Looks like a consensus to m... (Below threshold)

Looks like a consensus to me. The fact is, Bill, he didn't just commit this crime against one family. Although it can't be argued that the survivors are more directly affected, it's an affront to an entire society.

I think the easiest way to ... (Below threshold)

I think the easiest way to address this so-called controversy is to execute Alvord immediately (as in this afternoon) before carrying out Henyard's sentence (a few minutes later would be fine by me).

Bcook wrote-Dor... (Below threshold)

Bcook wrote-

Dorothy Lewis is not the one who suffered the most. Those little girls did. They are not here to pardon the man, but they are the only voices to which I would listen.

One Wizbang reader who has no idea what a parent goes when they lose a child. I have, and 5 years later am still suffering from Daniel's death. This won't end till the day my wife or I die. The same is true for Dorothy Lewis.

Plus as parents, we always ask what we could have done different to save our children. The children died a quick death, while their mother was left behind to have her heart die a little every day because of what happened. Get a clue!

What. The. F*ck. WHY is he... (Below threshold)
Big Country:

What. The. F*ck. WHY is he still alive? He should be fed feetfirst into an industrial woodchipper and his remains scattered to feed fish. I grow weary of the debate. If there is a death penalty, then ENOUGH with this letting them 'hang around' for years on appeal. In other countries the death penalty is carried out toute suite, "pour encourage les outres" to bastardize a quote. We should do the same.

Ahhh, my favorite thought i... (Below threshold)

Ahhh, my favorite thought is he will NEVER be able to do another crime. Ever. Again.

"The recidivism rate among those who have completed their sentence under the death penalty is.....zero."

January 24th every year I celebrate the "Ted Bundy Memorial Bar-B-Que"to commemorate and celebrate American justice. Served with a side of sauce, fries and tea. Mark your calendars!

Prisons are not a ... (Below threshold)
Prisons are not a very friendly place for child killers.

Sorry, but that is a myth my friend. Scum does not kill scum. It just combines to make more potent scum. As the LAST THING THEY WOULD EVER SEE IN LIFE, 2 little girls watched as their mother was horribly raped and brutalized before staring down the barrel of the gun that splattered their humanity into oblivion. It's "The State v. henyard", not "The victim v...". Justice must be able to see what this vile piece of filth deserves, and still be blind to the victims sentiments. Reginald Denney wanted his assailants to GO FREE! What about the rest of us?

This is one time those zany Iranians and their penchant for burying people up to their chests and stoning them for sport almost seems viable. Of course, the Iranians would be stoning the woman for "allowing" herself to be raped.

Lethal injection? No way. ... (Below threshold)

Lethal injection? No way. We need proportional punishment. I would favor taping his eyes open and shooting him in the face - just like he did the little girl.

It doesn't matter what Ms. ... (Below threshold)

It doesn't matter what Ms. Lewis does or does not want -- and it should not matter. Suppose we adopt the rule that "if the victim's loved ones don't want the murderer put to death, he won't be". Before you can say Jackrabbit, every ACLU and Amnesty International lawyer on the planet will badger grieving relatives, pressuring them to "veto" the death penalty. The more unscrupulous might attempt other forms of pressure -- from legal harassment and lawsuits to public demonstrations outside their homes and workplaces ("you're a murderer too!") to smearing them in the press to threats of physical harm.

"Nice /other/ daughter you got there...be a shame something happened to your last remaining child...All ya gotta do is veto this execution..."

It sounds like compassion -- "Oh, well, if the surviving victim doesn't support the death penalty, then we should let them have a veto." But it is NOT. It would revictimize them -- victims of so-called "compassion".

No, it does not -- and never should -- matter what Ms. Lewis wants.

Mr. Jempty, obviously it is... (Below threshold)

Mr. Jempty, obviously it is awful for the surviving members of the family. It is certainly understandable for a parent (such as yourself) to say it is better to die quickly then to deal with the pain associated with that death.

However, these are questions of personal perspective. To suggest that the parent should be able to veto the prescribed penalty suggests the parent's personal feelings should be put above justice for the victims.

Ergo, it makes no sense that since Person 1 (a non-neutral observer) feels they have suffered more then Person 2 they should be able to demand the negation the punishment prescribed to Person 3.






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