June 2014 Executions

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 17, 2014 Georgia India Roberts, 15 Marcus Wellons executed
India Roberts, murder victimThroughout the summer of 1989, Marcus A. Wellons lived with his girlfriend, Gail Saunders, in her townhouse apartment in Cobb County. Early that summer, Gail’s 14-year-old son Tony also lived in the apartment. Tony and 15-year-old India Roberts, who lived in a neighboring apartment with her mother, were friends. India occasionally visited Tony inside Gail Saunders’ apartment, where the two youths would watch television or play Nintendo. Wellons encouraged Tony to date India, remarking several times that she was a good-looking girl. At some point during the summer, Tony moved to Chattanooga to live with his grandparents. India continued to spend time with Gail occasionally. Gail described herself as India’s "play mommy" with whom India shared confidences. Wellons and Gail had become acquainted at the hospital where both worked, Wellons as a counselor in the psychiatric ward. Wellons moved in with Gail on the pretense that he owned a home but was unable to occupy it, because an ex-girlfriend had moved there with her two young daughters, and he could not in good conscience turn them out. Over the summer Wellons proposed marriage to Gail. However, by then Gail had become wary of Wellons, who was increasingly hostile and abusive. She verbally accepted his proposal out of fear, all the while seeking an escape from her predicament. On the evening of August 30, 1989, Gail told Wellons that their relationship was over and that he must move out of her apartment. Wellons, who had recently been fired from his job, purchased a one-way ticket to Miami for a flight departing on the evening of August 31. Fearing to be alone with Wellons the night before his departure, Gail told Wellons that she was going to Chattanooga to spend the night with her parents and enroll Tony in school. Instead, Gail went to the home of a female friend. That evening, Wellons began making desperate attempts to reach Gail by telephone. He called her mother in Chattanooga repeatedly, only to be told that Gail had not arrived. Wellons then called Gail’s friends, but no one knew or revealed her whereabouts. He called his mother and told her he suspected that Gail was with another man. Wellons became increasingly angry and began drinking. He ransacked Gail’s apartment. He overturned potted plants and furniture, threw flour onto the floor, and poured bleach over all of her clothes, carefully sparing his and Tony’s belongings in the process. After the apartment was demolished, Wellons began attempts to cover up his deed. He broke a window, from the inside out, cutting his hand in the process and smearing blood around the apartment. He stacked electronic equipment by the door. He then called 911 at approximately 3:00 a.m. on August 31 to report a burglary. When a police officer arrived, Wellons told the officer that he had come home to find the apartment ransacked, although no items were missing. Wellons explained to the officer that he cut his hand while struggling to uncover a stash of money to determine if it had been taken. Sometime after the officer left, Wellons wrote a racial slur across the wall in Gail’s bedroom. Several hours later, at approximately 8:00 a.m., India said goodbye to her mother and walked from her apartment, past Gail’s door, toward the school bus stop. Shortly thereafter, Gail’s next door neighbor heard muffled screams from inside Gail’s apartment. The apartment building was close to a wooded area, beyond which was a grocery store. At approximately 2:00 p.m., Wellons approached an acquaintance who was employed at the grocery store and asked to borrow a car. The acquaintance refused. Wellons told the acquaintance that when he (Wellons) returned home the previous night, he encountered two white men who were burglarizing the apartment. Wellons said that he successfully fought off the intruders but explained that he had in the process sustained the injuries to his hand. About half an hour later, Theodore Cole, a retired military police officer, was driving near the wooded area behind the apartment complex. He spotted in the distance a person carrying what appeared to be a body wrapped in a sheet. He distinctly saw feet dangling from the bottom of the sheet. Cole drove on but then returned for a second look. He drove around in the parking lot of the apartment complex and saw nothing. As he was driving away, however, he saw a man in his rear view mirror walk along the road and throw a sheet into the woods. Cole drove directly to the grocery store, where he called 911. Police officers arrived quickly and began a search of the woods. The police first discovered sheets, clothing and notebooks bearing Tony’s name. Then, upon close inspection of a pile of tree branches near where he had seen the man carrying the sheet, Cole spotted the body of India Roberts. When the branches were removed, the officers discovered that the victim completely unclothed, with cuts on one side of her face and ear and bruises on her neck. During the search of the woods, Cole spotted a black man with a bundle under his arm near the apartment building and identified him as the man Cole had seen carrying the sheet. Cole and an officer chased the man, but as they approached the building, the man turned the corner and Cole and the officer heard a door shut. The officer learned from a passerby which apartment was occupied by a man fitting the description given by Cole. He knocked on Gail’s door and announced his presence, but there was no answer. He returned to join the other officers, who were investigating the scene in full force, with helicopters overhead. Wellons, now trapped inside Gail Saunders’ apartment with residual evidence of his crime, gave up his attempt to dispose of the evidence in the woods. He first tried to clean the apartment and his clothes. He then abandoned that project, changed into swim wear, grabbed an old, yellowed newspaper and a cup of wine, partially barricaded and locked the door, and headed for the pool. On his way, Wellons caught sight of a police officer and stopped abruptly. The officer began questioning him. Initially evasive, Wellons did ultimately tell officers that the injuries to his hand, and new scratches to his face, were sustained during a scuffle with two men whom he had caught burglarizing Gail’s apartment. While investigating the scene, officers had asked Cole whether either of two black males was the man Cole had seen carrying the sheet. Cole immediately ruled out each of the men. Then, while officers were questioning Wellons, one officer standing at a distance from the questioning asked Cole whether Wellons was the man he had seen. Cole said that although Wellons was wearing different clothing from the man he had seen carrying the sheet, and whom he had again seen near the complex, Cole was 75 to 80 percent certain that Wellons was the same man. Later that day, officers searched Gail’s apartment. Inside, they found numerous items of evidence including India’s notebooks and earrings. In Tony’s room, they discovered India’s panties. They also found blood on Tony’s mattress and box springs. The mattress had been flipped so that the bloody portion was facing downward, and the bed had been remade. The autopsy revealed that India Roberts had died from manual strangulation, which in itself would have taken several minutes. The autopsy also showed that Wellons had attempted to strangle India with a ligature, possibly a telephone cord, and that he had bruised her and cut her face and ear with a sharp object. The evidence suggested that Wellons had dragged or otherwise forcibly moved India from the kitchen up the stairs to Tony’s bedroom. Finally, the autopsy revealed a vaginal tear and copious amounts of what appeared to be seminal fluid within the victim’s vagina. She had defensive wounds to her hands, and her blouse was stained with her own blood. Although a not guilty plea was entered for Wellons, he did not dispute his participation in the crimes. Instead, he urged the jury to return a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity or guilty but mentally ill. UPDATE: After several hours of delays while appeals were considered and rejected by the US Supreme Court, Marcus Wellons was executed by lethal injection. Wellons apologized for his crime. “I ask and hope that you will find peace with my death. I’m going home to be with Jesus.”
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 18, 2014 Pennsylvania Chuck Cassidy Lewis Jordan stayed
During a period of approximately six weeks in the fall of 2007, Lewis M. Jordan committed six armed robberies of retail food shops in North Philadelphia. Specifically, on September 18, 2007; September 21, 2007; and October 13, 2007, respectively, Jordan robbed three different Dunkin’ Donuts shops at gunpoint. On October 20, 2007, and October 25, 2007, respectively, he robbed two pizza shops at gunpoint. Finally, at approximately 10:30 a.m. on October 31, 2007, Jordan returned to the Dunkin’ Donuts shop that was the site of his first robbery, at 6620 North Broad Street in Philadelphia’s West Oak Lane section, and again demanded money from the employees, pointing a 9-millimeter weapon at the manager’s head and demanding that he place money in a bag. He told the other employees and customers to stay where they were. While this final robbery was in progress, Officer Charles Cassidy, who was dressed in his police uniform, pulled into the parking lot of the business, tasked with making an unscheduled visit as part of a crime prevention initiative in response to Jordan’s earlier robberies. Unaware of the robbery in progress, Officer Cassidy walked unhurriedly to the door. As the 25-year police veteran was about to enter the shop, Jordan turned toward the officer and Officer Cassidy immediately drew his service weapon and crouched down on the ground. Without hesitation, Jordan took a few steps towards Officer Cassidy, raised his gun, aimed, and fired a hollow-point bullet into his head above his right eyebrow from approximately three feet away. The bullet pierced Officer Cassidy’s frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital lobes. Jordan immediately fled from the scene, stopping to bend over to take the fallen officer’s service revolver. Chuck Cassidy was taken to Albert Einstein Hospital but died the next morning. On November 3, 2007, Several days after the murder, Jordan was gathered with his mother, Lynn Dyches, and his two sisters at Dyches’ house. Dyches called her nephew, Hakim Glover, to the house; upon Glover’s arrival, both she and Jordan made reference to the shooting of a police officer. Jordan specifically told him that he "did something bad," removing two guns from his waistband. When Dyches’ boyfriend, a corrections officer, arrived at the house, Jordan admitted to him that he "shot the cop." Jordan then became confrontational, and Dyches’ boyfriend was able to leave the home and contact authorities as soon as Jordan was distracted. Glover and Jordan drove to Glover’s sister’s house, where Jordan was able to stash both guns before Glover drove him to Wilmington, Delaware where Jordan boarded a bus bound for Miami, Florida. Jordan was arrested days later at a Miami homeless shelter. He later waived extradition and returned to Philadelphia to face charges for the murder of Officer Cassidy. Jordan’s trial began on November 9, 2009. After voir dire (questioning and selecting the jurors) but before any testimony had been presented, Jordan pled guilty to the murder of Officer Cassidy, as well as to all six armed robberies. As the court explained to the jury, the trial’s scope had thus been narrowed, such that the only issue left to be determined was whether Jordan had committed first-degree or second-degree murder. At trial, the Commonwealth presented several eyewitnesses to each of the robberies, as well as a surveillance videotape of the robbery and murder. The final prosecution witness was Officer Cassidy’s widow. Trial counsel’s defense strategy was to argue that Jordan had fired his gun in a “panicky reaction” when Officer Cassidy interrupted the robbery in progress. After the Commonwealth rested on November 18, 2009, the defense proffered no evidence and immediately also rested. The next day, following closing arguments and instructions from the court, the jury began its deliberations and within hours found Jordan guilty of first-degree murder. A two-day penalty phase hearing began on November 20, 2009. Officer Cassidy’s adult children and his widow expressed, via letters written to the court, the effects of Officer Cassidy’s death on the family. Jordan presented the testimony of his mother, grandmother, and sister. The jury found three aggravating circumstances, to wit, killing of a peace officer in the performance of his duties; killing committed during the perpetration of a felony; and significant history of violent felony convictions, and one mitigating circumstance, to wit, any other evidence of mitigation, the “catch-all” mitigator. The jury also found that the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating circumstances, and accordingly determined that Jordan should be sentenced to death. ***A stay is expected in this case and it is unlikely that the execution will take place on this date.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 18, 2014 Missouri Shawnee Murphy
Arthea Sanders
John Winfield executed
In September of 1996, Carmelita Donald, a surviving victim in this case, lived in a second floor apartment at 8100 Page in St. Louis County with her sister, Melody Donald. Shawnee Murphy, one of the murder victims in this case, lived downstairs from Melody and Carmelita along with her three children. Arthea Sanders, the other murder victim in this case, also lived downstairs. Carmelita and Melody became friends with Shawnee and Arthea and, after a while, Arthea moved upstairs and began living with Melody and Carmelita. Carmelita and John Winfield met in 1987, when Carmelita was still in high school; she later began dating Winfield and then moved in with him. They had two children together, 8-year-old Mykale Donald, and 6-year-old Symone Winfield. Both Carmelita and Melody used to live with Winfield and his family at various different locations. Carmelita and Winfield had a difficult relationship, though, so Carmelita broke it off with Winfield and she and Melody moved out of Winfield’s family’s home; in the Spring of 1996, Carmelita and Melody moved in together at the apartment on Page. Winfield lived in a house on Liberty, along with his family, that was about a block from Carmelita and Melody’s apartment on Page. Because of their proximity, Carmelita and Winfield shared physical custody of their children. On September 9, 1996, Carmelita went out for the evening with a man named Tony Reynolds. Winfield did not know about Carmelita’s relationship with Tony. Carmelita and Tony decided that they both wanted to tell Winfield, at some point, about their involvement. Between 10:00 and 11:00 pm that night, Melody received several calls from Winfield inquiring about Carmelita. Winfield first called and wanted to know where Carmelita was. Melody told Winfield she did not know where her sister was. Winfield called again and told Melody to tell Carmelita not to call him. Then, Winfield called a third time and instructed Melody to have Carmelita call him as soon as she got home. Winfield then came over to Carmelita and Melody’s apartment. Winfield asked where Carmelita was and made a telephone call. Melody repeated that she did not know where her sister was. Winfield lingered at the apartment for about ten to fifteen minutes, then left, only to return about ten minutes later. When he came back, Winfield was following Arthea Sanders, who went into the apartment she shared with Carmelita and Melody. Again, Winfield asked where Carmelita was. Melody reiterated that she did not know. Melody learned that Carmelita was out with a man named Tony Reynolds. Arthea and Melody decided to lie to Winfield and tell him that Carmelita was at Arthea’s mother’s house. Arthea and Melody believed that this explanation would appease Winfield, who was already upset, and cause him to leave. Melody decided to go downstairs to Shawnee’s apartment to telephone Arthea’s parents to let them know that they had told Winfield that Carmelita was at the Sanders’ house. Shawnee was at her apartment with her three sleeping children and a guest, James Johnson. While Melody was downstairs in Shawnee’s apartment, she heard a crash upstairs. Melody returned to her apartment to find that Winfield had knocked over and broken the entertainment center. Winfield said he needed to talk to Melody and asked how she could do this to him. Melody had no idea what Winfield was talking about. Melody returned to Shawnee’s apartment and said that Winfield was angry because Carmelita was not there and was upstairs turning over furniture. Melody and Shawnee went upstairs, then returned downstairs along with Winfield. Winfield asked Shawnee where Carmelita was; Shawnee said she did not know. Winfield did not believe Shawnee, and claimed that Shawnee knew where Carmelita was, and promised to “kick Carmelita’s ass” when she returned home. Carmelita, meanwhile, returned around midnight, along with Tony Reynolds, to the area of her apartment at Page and Midland; she noticed Winfield’s white Cadillac automobile. Tony said he would take Carmelita to his female cousin Jarita’s house and have Jarita take her back home “so it won’t be no $hit started”. Carmelita agreed. Tony’s cousin, Jarita, gave Carmelita a ride home. Carmelita went into her apartment building and found Winfield waiting there for her. Winfield confronted Carmelita, said he needed to talk to her, and pushed her down the steps and outside to a nearby parking lot. Winfield said, “I have just one question to ask you, and that’s are you fu**ing with that ni**er Tony?”. Carmelita acted like she did not know what Winfield was talking about, but Winfield persisted. Carmelita then asked if Winfield was talking about her brother, who was also named Tony, but Winfield said, “Nah, you know I ain’t talking about him”. Carmelita kept denying that she was involved with Tony Reynolds, but Winfield insisted, “Well, she ain’t going to lie”. Carmelita asked who “she” was, but Winfield would not say. Meanwhile, while Winfield and Carmelita were outside talking, Melody and Shawnee were downstairs in Shawnee’s apartment; Arthea, though, went outside. Melody then heard a sound like air coming out of a tire; Arthea had slashed a tire on Winfield’s car. Arthea then returned inside. Arthea instructed Melody to call the police and yelled outside to Carmelita to see if she was all right. Carmelita assured Arthea that she was fine. Carmelita then heard something hit Winfield’s car. Melody heard a car door slam; she decided not to call police because she believed that the slamming of the car door meant that Winfield was leaving. Winfield, however, ran into the apartment building. Carmelita followed. Melody heard Carmelita tell Arthea that he was coming to get her, to run, and that he had a gun; she then heard Arthea running. Winfield entered Shawnee’s apartment and said something like, “You don’t have nothin’ to do with this” or “You think that’s funny” or “It’s all your fault, bi+ch” and shot Arthea in the head. Arthea was unarmed. Winfield then turned the gun on Carmelita. Carmelita pleaded with him, but Winfield said “F**k you, bitch” and pulled the trigger. He shot her numerous times. Both Carmelita and Melody had seen Winfield with the gun he used in the past. The last thing Carmelita remembered was seeing Winfield’s face and the flash from the gun; the next thing she remembered was waking up in the hospital. Melody and James ran into the kitchen and tried to escape out the back door of Shawnee’s apartment but it was jammed. Shawnee, meanwhile, tried to get her kids, but Winfield shot her, too. Shawnee had pleaded with him, saying, “my babies” and “No, Johnny, no,” but Winfield said, “Shut the f**k up, bitch” and shot her. Winfield turned towards Melody; and she dropped to the floor. Winfield then turned to James, pointed the gun at him, and said, “You next”. James grabbed the gun and the two men struggled. While James wrestled with Winfield over the gun, James heard the gun click. Winfield hit James with the gun. James was able to break free and run. Melody was also able to escape and she ran to a neighbor’s house and called police. Officer Thomas Crowley, with the Vinita Park Police Department, was dispatched to the scene at 8100 Page. Officer Crowley entered the residence and found Carmelita. He asked her who shot her, but she did not respond. He found two small children on a bed in Shawnee’s living room. He also found Arthea and Shawnee. Arthea had a facial wound and was not breathing, nor did she have a pulse. Shawnee had a chest wound; like Arthea, she had no vital signs, pulse, or respiration. Officer Crowley spoke with Melody, who named Winfield as the gunman. Officer Crowley determined that Winfield lived at 7517 Liberty, a block from the crime scene, and asked University City Police to be on the lookout for Winfield. Officer Thomas Carney, with the University City Police Department, was assigned to arrest Winfield. On September 10th, Officer Carney went to Winfield’s home at 7517 Liberty to take him into custody. Officer Carney arrested Winfield and booked him at the police station. While booking Winfield, Officer Carney advised Winfield of his rights and Winfield said he understood those rights. Officer Carney then asked Winfield what he did with the gun. Winfield said he threw it into a creek. Winfield said that the creek was off of Vernon near Pennsylvania where a bridge was being built. Winfield did not ask Officer Carney about the condition of the victims. After Winfield had been arrested, Lieutenant Michael Webb, with the Vinita Park Police Department, responded to Winfield’s home at 7517 Liberty to conduct a search for the weapon. Winfield’s 1992 Cadillac automobile was in the driveway; the right front tire was flat. Winfield’s mother consented to a search of the home and directed officers to Winfield’s basement bedroom. There, Lieutenant Webb found Winchester.380 caliber ammunition in a gym bag. Later, Lieutenant Webb was informed that Winfield had admitted that he threw the gun in a creek. Lieutenant Webb arranged to have that area searched, but no gun was ever found in the location that Winfield had specified. John Kaltenbronn, a firearms examiner with the St. Louis County Police Department Laboratory, analyzed the ballistics evidence in this case. He received six spent shell casings recovered from the scene and five projectiles — four from the scene and one which was recovered during the autopsy of Shawnee Murphy. Kaltenbronn found that the projectiles were all.380/9mm caliber and they had 6 lands and grooves with a left hand twist. Kaltenbronn concluded that all five projectiles were definitely fired from the same firearm and indicated that they were most likely fired from a Davis. 380. Kaltenbronn explained that a Davis.380 automatic had a magazine that would hold five bullets; the gun would hold six bullets if one were to chamber a round and top off the magazine. Kaltenbronn also explained that a Davis.380 automatic would require six trigger pulls to fire the gun six times. Dr. Eric Sherburn, a neurosurgeon, treated Carmelita Donald. She suffered multiple gunshot wounds. When she arrived at the emergency room, she was comatose. Her most serious injury was a gunshot wound to the head, with the entry wound being in the right temporal region, and the exit wound being on the opposite side of her head. She also suffered gunshot wounds underneath her chin, to her shoulder and to her hand. Carmelita needed to have emergency brain surgery because of a bruise behind her left eye. She also had to have a surgical tracheostomy because her chin was so severely damaged that there was some concern as to whether she could breathe properly through her throat. Carmelita had to also undergo surgery to repair the damage to her jaw. She has a bullet that remains in her spine. As a result of the gunshot wound to her head, Carmelita was blinded. Her right eye was completely destroyed by the gunshot wound and had to be removed; the bullet severed the nerve that would have permitted her to have vision out of her left eye. Carmelita will never regain her sight, in either eye. At the time of trial, Carmelita was not working and was living with her children by Winfield and her mother. In August, 1998, Carmelita was scheduled to attend a school so that she could learn how to live independently as a blind person. Dr. Mary Case, the chief medical examiner for St. Louis County, performed autopsies on both Arthea Sanders and Shawnee Murphy. Arthea was 20 years old. She suffered a gunshot wound to the face that entered just below the right eye. Because of the large amount of soot around the wound, Dr. Case was able to determine that the shot was fired from close range. This shot injured Arthea’s cerebellum which, in turn, caused her to stop breathing and led to her death. Shawnee Murphy was 23 years old. She suffered a gunshot wound to the chest, near her clavicle (Tr.812). The bullet passed through her pericardial sac, aorta, and pulmonary artery. This caused bleeding which compressed her heart and prevented it from beating; this is known as “tamponade”. She died from the gunshot wound to the chest and the resulting loss of blood and tamponade. Winfield testified in his own defense. Winfield said that Shawnee had told him that Carmelita was out with Tony Reynolds and that the tire on his car was cut. Winfield claimed that he “just snapped” and then “all hell broke loose”. Winfield claimed, “I didn’t plan on hurting nobody”. He said he did not remember the shootings. He admitted that he lied to the police about his involvement, telling them at first that another man with a gun had entered the apartment building. Following the guilt phase evidence, instructions, and arguments of counsel, Winfield’s jury found him guilty as charged. The state then adduced evidence in the penalty phase. The state first presented a certified copy of Winfield’s prior conviction for receiving stolen property. The state also adduced testimony from Carmelita Donald that Winfield had been violent towards her in the past, hitting her and giving her a black eye in 1992, and putting a gun to her head in 1993 until she submitted to his sexual demands. The state also called Arthea’s mother, Melody Sanders, and Shawnee’s mother, Gerry Murphy, as part of the penalty phase evidence. Winfield then presented evidence in mitigation of punishment by calling his father, step-mother, his brother, and a family friend from church. At the close of the penalty phase evidence, instructions, and arguments of counsel, the jury recommended that Winfield be sentenced to death for the murders of Arthea Sanders and Shawnee Murphy. The jury found, as a basis for consideration of capital punishment, that the murder of Arthea Sanders was committed while the defendant was engaged in the commission of another unlawful homicide of Shawnee Murphy, and that the murder of Shawnee Murphy was committed while the defendant was engaged in the commission of another unlawful homicide of Arthea Sanders. On September 18, 1998, the court sentenced Winfield, in accordance with the jury’s verdicts, to two death sentences for the murders of Arthea Sanders and Shawnee Murphy, a life sentence for assault in the first degree as to Carmelita Donald, fifteen years for assault in the first degree as to James Johnson, and four sentences of 75 years for each of four counts of armed criminal action. UPDATE: John Winfield was executed by lethal injection just after midnight. Winfield appeared to tell the witnesses that were there for him, “I love you,” but declined to make a final statement. The execution was witnessed by five members of the family of one of the women he killed, Shawnee Murphy, as well as his ex-girlfriend Carmelita Donald whom he shot four times leaving her blind, and three members of her family. There were no representatives present of the other woman he fatally shot, Arthea Sanders.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 18, 2014 Florida Patricia Roddy, 28
Suzanne Henry , 29
Eugene Leo Christian , 5
John Henry executed
Suzanne Henry’s body was found in her home in the Pasco County town of Zephyrhills, Florida, at 4:20 p.m. on December 23, 1985. She had been stabbed thirteen times in the throat, and her body had been covered with a rug and left near the living room couch. Her son, five-year-old Eugene Christian, was missing. Within a short period of time, the sheriff’s office discovered enough evidence to arrest John Ruthell Henry for his wife’s murder. The two chief investigators in the case were Pasco County detectives Fay Wilber and William McNulty. Wilber and McNulty tracked Henry to the Twilight Motel in Zephyrhills, where he was staying in a room with Rosa Mae Thomas. He was arrested shortly after midnight. Detective Wilber read Henry his Miranda rights, and asked about Eugene Christian. Henry denied knowing his whereabouts. Henry was taken to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office in Dade City for questioning. He was placed in a conference room. One wrist was handcuffed to a chair, but he was not otherwise restrained, and he was allowed to smoke cigarettes and drink coffee. Wilber had known Henry for a number of years, so it was decided that he would question him. While Wilber went to get coffee, however, McNulty attempted to talk to Henry, "to establish a rapport." McNulty said he understood Henry had "done some time before,” to which Henry replied, "I am not saying nothing to you. Besides, you ain’t read me nothing yet." McNulty reminded Henry that Wilber had read him his rights at the motel, and then asked where Eugene Christian was. After a few moments, Wilber came back with coffee, and McNulty left. On several occasions McNulty reentered the room to observe and participate in the questioning. McNulty never related Henry’s statement to Wilber because he took it to mean that Henry simply did not wish to talk to him (McNulty). Upon reentering with the coffee, Wilber read Henry his Miranda rights, and Henry agreed to talk. Wilber and Henry talked over the course of more than three hours. Even then Henry did not confess. Ultimately, Wilber said he was going to have to leave and find Eugene without Henry’s help. At this point, Henry said Eugene was in Plant City. Wilber asked if the boy was alive, and Henry said he was not. Henry said he would take police to the site, and he did so. When the body was found, it appeared that the victim had been stabbed five times in the neck. Once the body was recovered, Henry was taken back to Dade City, where, after again being informed of his Miranda rights, he made a full confession concerning both murders. Henry related that he had gone to his estranged wife’s house before noon on December 22 to discuss what Christmas present to buy Eugene. While he was there they got into an argument over his living with Rosa Thomas. After he refused to leave, she attacked him with a kitchen knife. They "tussled" and after he was cut three times on his left arm, he "freaked out," took the knife away from her, and stabbed her. He then covered her body and went into another room to get Eugene, who had been watching television. Henry said that he then took Eugene with him and drove to Plant City, in Hillsborough County. They stopped for him to buy the boy a snack and later for him to buy some cocaine, before heading back toward Zephyrhills. When Henry thought he saw flashing lights behind him, he said he turned into an isolated area near a chicken farm because he believed police were after him. When the car got stuck in some mud, Henry and Eugene got out and walked a short distance away. They stopped and Henry smoked his cocaine while holding Eugene on his knee. He then stabbed the boy to death and considered killing himself, but could not bring himself to do it. He walked around for awhile before dropping the knife in a field. Some nine hours had passed since he killed his wife. He walked back to Zephyrhills, went to Rosa Thomas’ house, and changed clothes. The two then went to the motel. Henry said he did not know why he killed Suzanne and Eugene. For the stabbing murder of his girlfriend, Patricia Roddy, Henry was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1976 and was paroled in 1983. Patricia was 28 years old and she and her children were in a car with Henry when he stabbed her at least 20 times, killing her while one of her children begged him to stop hurting their mother. Suzanne’s family said she was not aware of Henry’s previous murder conviction. UPDATE: "I can’t undo what I’ve done. If I could, I would. I ask for your forgiveness if you can find it in your heart," John Henry said before the execution.

Page visited times since

Page last updated 06/18/14