Monday, September 22, 2008

Lewis never has advocated that Henyard be executed.

Killer's execution would close chapter on mom's nightmare
Lauren Ritchie | COMMENTARY (Excerpt) Orlando Sentinel
September 21, 2008

Dorothy Lewis likely will be at her Umatilla home cooking dinner by 6 p.m. Tuesday when the man who killed her two babies is to draw his last breath.

Richard Henyard, 34, convicted of murdering Lewis' daughters and of raping and shooting the third-grade schoolteacher, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection. It would be the first of a Lake County prisoner in 50 years.

Do we throw a party? Perhaps we should follow the lead of the victim. When Lewis learned two months ago that Gov. Charlie Crist had signed a death warrant, she cried.

Were they tears of joy that the criminal is finally being disposed of? Sorrow at the barbaric execution of a fellow human being? Or a simple emotional reaction to another wrenching upheaval in a life laced with trials? For sure, it wasn't the first option. Lewis never has advocated that Henyard be executed.

"It won't bring back my girls," she said recently.

A horribly random crime

About a year after the 1993 crimes, Lewis remarked that if she demanded Henyard's execution, she'd be no better than the 18-year-old who raped her on the trunk of her car while her girls watched and whimpered for their mommy...

Lewis and her daughters, 3-year-old Jasmine and 7-year-old Jamilya, were at a now-closed Winn-Dixie supermarket in Eustis buying ingredients to make a salad for a church potluck supper when they were kidnapped.

Innocent victims

It could just as easily have been me. It could have been you. Anyone who shopped for groceries and looked vulnerable was a target...

State Attorney Brad King remarked to a reporter that the innocence of the victims played a key role in the death sentence. It's hard to imagine more blameless victims than little girls with neatly braided hair and polite manners and their mother, who at 35 had begun to preach the word of the Lord at her church.

The girls had lost their daddy in 1989 to spinal meningitis, but Lewis' mother and sisters and aunts stepped forward and wrapped them in a cocoon of caring that protected them and reminded them that they were loved and would make it through tough times.

But the power of intense love cannot stop death when it is determined to visit.

Killer had no one to care

Henyard is not wanted in this world. He never was, from the moment of his birth. His young, unmarried mother was too busy drinking and doing drugs to take care of a squalling pimply infant who developed sores all over his body from a severe milk allergy and gave no one a moment's peace.

At 10 months, Henyard went to live with his godmother, who tried to provide a stable home. Between then and his 11th year, he bounced between his godmother and mother. Then -- fed up with his attitude and behavior -- his godmother took him to live with his father in South Florida, where he stayed until he was 16.

His mother and father made the same piteous plaint on the witness stand in 1994 when they pleaded for his life: They did the best they could do. Clearly, the best didn't involve putting themselves out to steer the boy toward becoming an even marginally decent member of society. By their own accounts, they brought this child into the world, then took almost no responsibility. He just came up on his own...

Fifteen years have passed. Jamilya probably would have graduated from college and be starting her life as a grown woman. Jasmine likely would be in her freshman year, a teenager sorting out her options for the future.

Understandably, Lewis doesn't want to talk about this anymore -- not the crimes, not the girls, not Henyard, not herself. She has replayed the scenes a million times in her head, where they bounce around the four plates and 24 screws that repaired her skull after Henyard put a bullet in her forehead...
(ASIDE: Marietta Jaeger's daughter Susie was abducted at the age of seven during a family camping trip in Montana. For over a year afterwards, the family knew nothing of Susie's whereabouts...Marietta was to learn that Susie had been killed on a remote Montana ranch a week after she disappeared. Despite her family's tragedy, she remains committed to forgiveness and has been an ardent opponent of the death penalty for the over 25 years since Susie's death.

PHOTO of Marietta Jaeger-Lane

(learn more about Marietta's story on The Journey of Hope website and follow the upcoming Journey of Hope in Montana)
More on Dorothy Lewis' story:

From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Excerpt)
Killer of two girls to be put to death Execution scheduled for Tuesday
By Ron Word | The Associated Press
September 22, 2008

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 governor said the ultimate punishment was certainly justified for Richard Henyard, 34, who is scheduled to die Tuesday.

Fifteen years ago, Henyard and a teenage accomplice carjacked Carol Lewis and her daughters, Jasmine, 3, and Jamilya, 7, outside a Central Florida grocery store. He told Lewis he was Satan when she prayed for help, raped her and then shot her repeatedly, but she survived. After the little girls cried out for their mother, Henyard participated in their executions.

"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, adding it is "unimaginable that any human being could carry out such a horrendous act."

"My life is a testimony to the fact that victims can be victorious through the power of prayer," Lewis, now 51 (a pastor and motivational speaker) wrote on a Web site, prayer for sexual trauma dot org...

Blog Note:

Despite the hint of closure in the first article, there is wide-spread experience by many victims that the death penalty leads to little if any...

May all who read this hold ALL who go through such unbelievable tragedy in the healing and power of prayer.

May all who are touched by Ms. Lewis' lack of vengeance be similarly seeking alternatives to killing and be in prayer for spiritual healing and release for the perpetrators, including for Henyard.

May all who have experienced victimization of any kind--like Ms. Lewis--find healing through prayer and/or in other ways.

May we all do all we can to help lead others to healing....

Perhaps, a simple caring letter of empathy to Dorothy Lewis sent through commentator, Lauren Ritchie, would be comforting and would also let Ritchie know there are others similarly without vengeance--yes, even in the worst scenarios imaginable. or 352-742-5918


Anonymous said...

Henyard's very existence is appalling. The girls are dead; he is not, and the state is about to rectify that injustice.

Susanne said...

Dear anonymous,

interestingly I've noticed that some people want to tell others their opinion (and you might have noticed that we do publish all of then no matter if they are pro or against the DP as long as it's written without bad words) but on the other hand their don't want to tell their names. I'm wondering if actually they're scared someone might recognize them? I don't want to step on your toes but to me this always seems a bit cowardy, not being able to actually stand for what one thinks...

But coming back to what you wrote:
"The girls are dead: he's not, and the state is about to rectify that injustice" Don't you have a very narrow sighted view of things?

I'm thinking of the girl's mom. She surely was a victim. She got raped and shot and HER children are dead. But from her we read different things:

"It won't bring back my girls,"..."Lewis remarked that if she demanded Henyard's execution, she'd be no better than the 18-year-old "

SHE surely does not want this execution. All she seems to want is to leave all of this behind her. But even of this possibility the state of Florida stripped her. If Henyard would have been sentenced to life in prison everything would have been over with years ago and she would not have had to live through lots of appeals and letters constantly reminding her.

So the state of Florida totally neglegted the victim's wishes and by doing so victimized her for a second time.

I think she sis a really remarkable woman. After all what she's been through picking up life again and preaching love. And my sorrow really goes out to her, not only because of what Henyard has done to her but also because of what the state of Florida has been doing to her for 15 years!

Greta777 said...

I don't see how anything this lady wrote excuses what this depraved, souless monster did. A severe milk allergy? bounced from godmother to mother? The man is letting his body and mind be host to the devil. We are NOT to embrace evil.

I suppose you would argue with God about tossing the devil himself into the brimstone.

Watch it lady, you are being deceived by evil.

Jenna said...

It is not fair to use Dorothy Lewis as an anti OR pro death penalty figure. She said in her statement to the press...

"I do not consider this event as a joyous occasion, and I am sorry that this execution had to take place. But Romans 6:23 clearly states, 'The wages of sin is death . . . I pray that Mr. Henyard had enough sense to ask God to forgive him of his sins."

It seems to me that she put her faith in letting God decide what justice was to be done to Henyard, and it was done according to His will.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe there is any such thing as God or any other supernatural force. I agree that our society is profoundly flawed in its relationship to violence. We certainly need to do many things to reduce the level of crime and criminality outside of merely having police show up to the door AFTER the guy has killed 50 people. Having said that.. once someone has looked face to face at a 7 or 5 year old and said "hey.. kill them.. they are making noise".. even if that person is 14 years old or older... it is a REASONABLE thing to, once the process of guilt has been assessed, jail them or kill them. The person is no good to themselves or anyone else. Life DOES have intrinsic worth and one can never only be judged on their worst day, but SOME things you can not come back from and there's nothing wrong with this sort of behavior being adjudged to be one of those things.

If there is any REAL justice.. that Alfonza Smalls would also have been brought forth for execution. Also there is a couple in Alabama. Alvin Neeley and Judith Neeley. Judith Neeley and her hubby Alvin kidnapped a 13 year old girl so Alvin could rape her over several days, they showed her videos of another girl they had raped and cut off her hair and fed it to her and then after a few days, Judith took the girl to a deserted area, tied her to a tree and injected her several times with DRANO.. when this failed to work, she took her to a cliff and pushed her off where she fell to her death. These are people who have gone too far beyond what any gathering of human beings should allow. It is not wrong that these people's lives should be ended and a member of a civilized community need feel no shame in carrying out such an execution. Just as in this case... the husband was given a sentence while the wife was given the death penalty. REAL justice would not be for this woman to be sentenced to life or consecutive life but rather for BOTH of them to be executed at the same time.

I don't like the cycle of violence that the death penalty promotes and it surely brings no one back nor is it satisfactory justice. It is just a penalty... one that can easily be justified in these cases. It should be fairly applied though... not just to cases of sexual frenzy or ONLY when a black man kills a white woman a la the Chevy Kehoe incident in North Carolina when 4 U.S. Army soldiers shot a black couple on the street after pursuing them outside of the base. One white juror deadlocked the jury on recommending the death penalty so only one of the soldiers got death. That is wrong. If one gets death they all should have. There is nothing any more or any less just about confining someone to prison for their entire lives than killing them according to ratified laws.

CN said...

Of course there have been other news stories we didn't see & it's very possible Dorothy Lewis has come to various other conclusions than those described in the news which we excerpted.

In no way do I want to be indicating that Lewis is pro or con in a strict sense...I was simply quoting from the article to which I referred, ie, "Lewis never has advocated that Henyard be executed...'It won't bring back my girls,' she said recently...About a year after the 1993 crimes, Lewis remarked that if she demanded Henyard's execution, she'd be no better than the 18-year-old..."

However, there are many layers behind every news story or report--
Thanks for sharing other aspects to this story.

From your comment, it sounds like you and I are both impressed by Lewis' faith (as you mentioned) and her belief that God could forgive her perpetrator his sins (as you pointed out.)

Thank you for sharing more to this story...

facewithin said...

I see that night I see the pain and fear in the mother and the little ones it breaks my heart. But I need to say this. I understand this man had a bad life my heart goes out to any child that isn't wanted and treated badly. But I'm 55 and I was raped and beat up and locked in a box by my Father from a young child till I was 12 years old. over the years I hear my Father also rape and beat my mother. I woke one night with my two younger sister crying and begging God to make it stop. I listen as I heard my mother screaming and begging him to stop. I pulled back the covers and told my sisters to stay. I walked down that hall and I changed. I open the door and drag that monster off her. He had a cord around her neck and was raping her. I told him to get out. I kick and hit and throw ever thing I could at him. My Mother die six month later she was very sick. I grow up taking care of my sisters. One day I was reading a book on mental illness and I understood that I needed help. I when to see a doctor and he said he couldn't treat me till I had a sign paper because I was under age for him to do so. I worked as a waitress and when to another doctor and lie and said I was 18. I when for many years and tried to do my beat in life. I have never hurt any one in my life. Now the men that did this to you and to your kids. You have no reason to feel sorry for them. They should have understood your pain more than any one as I do. See we have made it ok for people to do things like this and we will all feel sorry for them. I was 39 when they said oh by the way your MPD after many years of seeing doctors. They tried to put all of me together I tried to take my life which I had never done before. They told me later that was one of the problem to the treatment. I have three daughters all grown up and three grandkids. I paint and some of my work is odd I have been told. I had a drinking problem I had to fight and a drug problem when I was younger. But I have always feel other peoples pain more due to what happen to me not less. The men that say they were rape and now they rape there lying. They have stop the laws to past to end there lives saying they were rape too and they shouldn't be now killed. If I ever did this to some one I want some one to send me to God and take me out of this world for I wouldn't harm again. So please don't feel sorry for him. But I know your kids are with God and one day you will be with them and your husband. God Bless you and keep you save.
I tell you my story for one reason for you won’t feel bad they ended his life, you have no reason to feel sorry for him. I ask no one to feel sorry for me, the days I do feel sorry for me I go do some thing good for some one. For if I feel sorry for my self for what others did to me than its time for me make sure life is better for some one else.

CN said...

facewithin, I respond to your moving and startling outpouring below this comment..

First, in response to Anonymous above, we at the JOH certainly concur with your nuanced understanding in some of your statements such as this one: "our society is profoundly flawed in its relationship to violence. We certainly need to do many things to reduce the level of crime and criminality outside of merely having police show up to the door..." While there might well be differences among us, I for one am hard-pressed to see how we will lower the murder rate without gun control. This is certainly one aspect of so many which may help prevent both murders and executions. Many dynamics are involved here. You may want to go to the link Lower Right: Prevention Not Punishment. Maybe others reading these comments will respond to other layers of your well-thought out contribution. Let me end by saying that a number of folk who later become abolitionists (of the death penalty) first begin with moratorium of the death penalty because, although they may agree with you about executing someone guilty, they discover that the DP is applied quite inconsistently and that much human error is involved. Of course there are many other reasons folk end up with the position we take at Journey of Hope. Thanks for your comment and keep tuning in as well as letting us know other considerations you have.

CN said...


You do such a vivid favor to us here and many who I hope will read your contribution by sharing in such detail the terrible suffering you and your family members have undergone.

I wonder if there were experiences in your father's life which may have contributed to his uncontrollable abuse of your dear ones?

At any rate, as you have pointed out and understood so well at such a young age, there is so much long-term and often ongoing healing needed for those who suffer so--and you were wounded in ways you still must address, albeit, with wisdom, understanding and knowing what helps you best. I only pray that many more will seek help and be able to find help for their own wounds as you have.

Sometimes it's difficult for those
in this abolition movement and in The Journey of Hope to actually FEEL sorry for the ones who commit such unspeakable crimes.

Often, until the feeling of compassion comes--if it ever does, it's a choice folk sometimes make to seek what is a particular understanding of what's right to do and what leads to peace or more of it than if there is revenge and hatred.

There's a hope NOT to remember a loved one or several loved ones by adding one's name to another's death: execution by the state. Or if it happens, there is often a sense of peace beyond understanding to know that one did not give consent to that state homicide.

As you know better than most of us--people react very differently to symptoms of mental and psychological difficulty.

Thank God (or Love or Grace or your own diligent efforts) for your grown children and grandchildren--that you are a person who does good in the world.

I love the way you end...with such wisdom for us all...

"...the days I do feel sorry for me I go do some thing good for some one. For if I feel sorry for my self for what others did to me than its time for me make sure life is better for some one else."

I am feeling sorrow with you, facewithin, that you have had to go through such amazing pain of all kinds. And I experience relief, peace and grace with you and for you that you have overcome so many trials.

May you continue to be so blessed!
Thanks so much for taking out the time to express what you went through. I trust your effort will result in more understanding and less suffering.

Anonymous said...

it sounds like the person who wrote this article is the one who will not let mrs lewis forget her ordeal. what don't you get about she doesnt want to talk about it anymore? As far as the death penalty; Most of us in America are sick of violence, of people who commit violence, and of b/s stories of how awful it was for the criminal while he was growing up that he had to commit such a horrendous crime. We don't care anymore what therer problem was. We don't want to pay our taxes to keep alive these monsters sho rape our women and children. You bet I'm pro death penalty. These people are not fixable. They are hardly human. And for the lady who complained because someone signed it anonomous, I'm sure they just don't want to hear from you outside of this forum. I love God as much as anyone else. I believe in an eye for an eye. I beleive whole heartedly in the death penal. Sincerely Lisa

tina millican said...

this is in reference to the artical about judith neeley. the 13 year old she murdered was my sister. they raped my sister over 3 days. on my sisters last day she was tied to a tree and 6 different shots of liquid plumber put into her body. when that didnt kill her she was made to stand over a cliff and shot in the back. she fell backward so judith neeley tossed my sister over the edge. when my mother heard that the death penelty was over turned it was like my sister was murdered all over again. the governer that over turned the sentence did so because he lost an election. since she has been in prision neeley has convinced another women to commite suicide. my mother recieved a letter from neeley claiming she was not responsible for my sisters death.from 1982 till 2009 she still claims she had nothing to do with it. so yes i believe she should've died by electric chair as she was sentenced.