Henderson jurors defend decision

Jurors defend penalty process:

This is an article about the jury defending its position on not sending Richard Henderson Jr. to death row.

After hours of determining his guilt, it took the jury fewer than 10 minutes to decide on a recommendation for Henderson’s punishment. Staples said nine jurors voted for life and three voted for death.

The brevity of the deliberations stemmed from conversations the group had earlier while determining whether to convict Henderson, Staples said. Jury members had discussed issues that would affect the penalty phase.

“In looking at it, a majority of us found that the death penalty was not appropriate in this case,” Staples said.

For Staples and the majority who voted for life, these mitigating factors stood out:

• Henderson’s criminal history: As far as the jury knew, he did not have a violent past.

• His love for his family: “Not one witness said he had (serious) problems with his family,” Staples said. “There was clear testimony all around he loved them.”

• His mental illness: “He didn’t get the care he needed,” Staples said, referring to Henderson’s psychiatric history. “Some, he sabotaged or didn’t want, yeah, but he was a kid and there was some responsibility on his parents and society to help him.”

Some testimony during the punishment phase of the trial also had an impact on why the jury did not recommend death, Staples said.

For example, Henderson’s grandfather, Loyal Stringer, described Henderson as “good guy.”

“It’s a tragic loss, but when his grandparents took the stand and proved they could still love him despite what has happened – that speaks toward what we had already thought.” Staples said. “That confirms our belief he wasn’t a cold, calculating monster.”

How could the death penalty not apply? How many of his family would he have had to bludgeon to death before the death penalty applied? If he really loved his family HE WOULDN’T HAVE BEAT THEM TO DEATH WITH A PIPE! He did have a violent criminal history. He planned to shoot up a high school or was the jury not told that part? And the juror basically contradicted himself in the quote about mental illness. If he sabotaged his own treatment then he was well aware of what was going on around him.

It’s not the gravest of injustices because Henderson did receive four life sentences. However, I think Henderson more than deserved the death penalty and the jury’s reasoning behind not giving it to him was flawed.

5 thoughts on “Henderson jurors defend decision”

  1. I love this part…

    but he was a kid and there was some responsibility on his parents and [b]society[/b] to help him

    Why is it societies responsibility to raise him ? Why does it always fall on society when a kid is fucked up ? I am part of the American society and I take no responsibility in kids like him for the same reason that i don’t take any when some kid grows up to be a upstanding citizen.


  2. Why do you care? Killing him would not make a difference. He’ll never be freed and killing him won’t bring back his dead family members.


  3. you are half right. Killing him will not bring back the dead, but it WILL bring closure to surviving family members. It also serves as warning to potential criminals.
    As far as him gaining freedom or not… you obviously have just begun paying attention to criminal law. A life sentence does not mean he would live out the rest of his years in prison… it just means he will be in for a long time. The death penalty makes sure that he will not find his way back into the general population where he could commit a crime like this again.

    1 million years ago, nature ruled and only the strong survived.
    2000 years ago, humans ruled the earth and only the strong survived.
    200 years ago, Men fought for freedom by any means necessary …and only the strong survived.
    40 years ago, people decided that strength was no longer needed and their minds were enough … and the world is slowly dying.
    Now, the strong are considered immoral, the weak and cowardice are uplifted and are ruining the very foundation that made mammals survive for as long as we have.

    in the 10’s of thousands of years that humans have fought for survival, 1 rule has always held true.

    “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth”

    Now that this law is fading our of our world, so is our morality. It is the pusification of our world that is making us vulnerable to ourselves and nature. Earth is about to spit us out… and we deserve it for letting ourselves become as stupid as John Doe.

    I for one wont miss this world when my time eventually comes.


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