James Henry was executed by the State of Florida for the murder of a man during a robbery. According to court documents James Henry would break in the victim home and in the process of robbing it would murder the homeowner Zellie Riley. James Henry would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death. James Henry would be executed on September 20 1984 by way of the electric chair.
James Henry More News
James Dupree Henry, trembling and professing innocence, died in the electric chair today for the murder of an 81- year-old man in a robbery.
Mr. Henry, 34 years old, bade his mother and girlfriend farewell and ate raw oysters for the first time before he was put to death in the oak electric chair moments after a temporary stay of execution expired at 7 A.M. He was pronounced dead nine minutes later.
”My final words are ‘I am innocent,’ ” Mr. Henry said before the death hood was dropped over his face.
Mr. Henry was the 25th man executed in the United States since the Supreme Court lifted its ban on the death penalty in 1976, and the ninth man executed in Florida. Gov. Bob Graham signed death warrants Wednesday for two more Florida inmates
Mr. Henry was to have died Wednesday morning, but the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit granted him a 24-hour reprieve while it considered his case. He had a calm visit with his family, including a half- hour alone with his new-found mother, after the court rejected his appeal. ‘Ready to Go Either Way’
”He said he was ready to go either way the court told him,” said a State Correction Department spokesman, Vernon Bradford.
Mr. Henry’s final words were barely audible to witnesses because the microphone placed in front of him did not work. He winked at his attorney, Richard Jordanby, a public defender.
He was executed for the murder on March 24, 1974, of Z.L. Riley, his next door neighbor and an Orlando civil rights worker. Mr. Riley was found gagged, tied to a chair and beaten with a pistol. His throat was slit with a razor but the police said he strangled on the gag.
Mr. Henry, who repeatedly denied killing Mr. Riley, began a life of crime when he was 15 years old and once served a prison term for shooting a man in the eye. He Ate a Dozen Oysters
Mr. Henry ordered a dozen oysters with hot sauce and crackers for his last meal. He had never eaten oysters. He finished the dozen along with half a cantaloupe and a glass of grapefruit juice but refused an offer of more oysters.
Late Wednesday night, Mr. Henry was visited by his mother, Dora Mae Bradwell of Quincy, Fla., four sisters, two brothers, Flora Talley of Paterson, N.J., and his attorney.
James Henry, who was shifted from family to family while growing up, said he did not know who his real mother was until a week ago after she read of his impending execution and contacted him at the prison.
”In my time of need, she was there,” he said in an interview Tuesday.