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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