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Execution scheduled for heinous murders 15 years ago

STARKE — When Florida resumed executions this summer after an 18-month moratorium, Gov. Charlie Crist wanted to sign death warrants for those convicted of the most heinous murders.

The ultimate punishment was certainly justified for Richard Henyard, who is scheduled to die Tuesday, the governor said then.

Henyard, 34, and a teenage accomplice carjacked Carol Lewis and her daughters, Jasmine, 3, and Jamilya, 7, outside a Central Florida grocery store 15 years ago.

He told Lewis he was Satan when she prayed for help, raped her and then shot her multiple times, but she survived. He then participated in the execution of her daughters after they cried out for their mom.

"When you look at the horrific nature of this crime, it lets you know that the penalty he will receive is certainly justified," Crist said when he signed the death warrant. It's "unimaginable that any human being could carry out such a horrendous act."

Lewis, a pastor and motivational speaker in the Ocala area who talks about her ordeal, did not respond to e-mails or telephone calls seeking comment on Henyard's pending execution.

Mark Gruber, one of Henyard's attorneys, filed a final appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, hoping to delay the execution.

The Florida Supreme Court rejected all of Henyard's appeals Sept. 10, including his claim that co-defendant, 14-year-old Alfonza Smalls, was the shooter. He also challenged Florida's lethal injection procedure, saying it is cruel and unusual punishment.

Smalls, who was 14 at the time of the slayings, was too young to face execution. He was sentenced to eight consecutive life sentences for the kidnapping, rape and murders.

Execution scheduled for heinous murders 15 years ago 09/21/08 [Last modified: Monday, September 22, 2008 2:24pm]
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