Florida Inmate Executed For Killing Wife, Child

June 19, 2014

John Ruthell Henry, who was convicted in the December 1985 for the murders of his estranged wife in Pasco County and her 5-year-old son in Hillsborough County, was put to death Wednesday at Florida State Prison near Starke. The execution came after a last-minute appeal was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Henry, 63, was convicted of killing Suzanne Henry, who was stabbed repeatedly in the throat with a kitchen knife after the two argued in her home over presents for her son Eugene Christian. Henry then took the boy to Hillsborough County.

Nine hours later, Henry used the same knife to kill the boy.

Juries in both counties sentenced Henry to death, though the death warrant for the execution referred only to the murder of Suzanne Henry. The murders occurred three years after Henry was released on parole for the 1975 murder of his first wife.

The execution came a day after a divided 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected arguments that the execution should be halted because of questions about whether Henry is intellectually disabled. The arguments centered on a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that found Florida had improperly used a “rigid” IQ score of 70 in determining whether Death Row inmates are intellectually disabled, a term that has replaced mentally retarded. The U.S. Supreme Court had ruled earlier that it is unconstitutional to execute people who are intellectually disabled.

Henry’s attorney pointed to a test that showed Henry’s IQ as 78 and suggested that the IQ could be as low as 73. But in a 2-1 decision, the federal appeals court said Henry did not provide adequate evidence that he might be intellectually disabled, with mental-health experts never expressing such an opinion. Also, the majority said the U.S. Supreme Court did not make its recent ruling, known as Hall v. Florida, retroactive to cases on what is known as “collateral” review.

Henry is the 18th person executed by Florida since Scott took office. Death Row inmate Eddie Wayne Davis, 45, is scheduled to be executed July 10. Davis was convicted in a Polk County case of kidnapping 11-year-old Kimberly Waters, sexually assaulting and strangling her and leaving her body in a dumpster. Davis was a former boyfriend of Waters’ mother.

by The News Service of Florida


16 Responses to “Florida Inmate Executed For Killing Wife, Child”

  1. David Huie Green on June 23rd, 2014 2:50 pm

    Train the killers to be mental health professionals.
    Two birds with one stone.

  2. Henry Coe on June 22nd, 2014 8:44 am

    I don’t understand why death sentences take so long to be carried out when there is no doubt or anything speculative about the evidence.
    I also don’t understand why most life sentences are handed out? Life sentences are a drain on society.
    If there is no doubt or speculation about the evidence in the criminals guilt and the sentencing’s purpose is to permanently remove this person from society, regardless of their IQ, why are we keeping them alive?
    I would rather see the money being used to house these criminals being used for hiring more teachers or as an investment toward community wellness and mental health centers.

  3. perdido fisherman on June 20th, 2014 3:15 pm

    I think we should have our prisons set up like they do in Saudi Arabia. Over there the offenders family pays for the prisoners food and medicine, if they have no family, they have to get creative on how to support themselves while locked up. The victims family should also have the say in how the perpetraitor pays for thier crime, whether the offender is put to death, does some time in prison or is let off the hook with forgiveness for thier crime.

  4. melodies4us on June 19th, 2014 9:14 pm

    It doesn’t make any sense to wait this long for any body’s execution. They should be fast tracked to execution immediately after the verdict.

  5. David Huie Green on June 19th, 2014 3:36 pm

    “The rich get richer (Lawyer’s)
    The poor get poorer (Taxpayer’s)”

    Not all lawyers are rich.
    Not only poor pay taxes.
    (In fact, some poor pay few taxes.)

    Sometimes wealth is increased.
    Sometimes wealth goes away.

    David for world-wide wealth
    starting with thee, then me

  6. David Huie Green on June 19th, 2014 3:32 pm

    Please be careful when you consider mating with gentlemen.
    Remember they may decide to kill you and your children if you pick unwisely.
    Then we’re stuck with the bill and the cleanup.

    Same thing, some of these ladies are dangerous.
    Live long and prosper through good choices.

    David for selectivity

  7. No Reason!! on June 19th, 2014 12:38 pm

    There is NO reason that we should haft to take care of someone for any length of time. The person that the crime was committed against didn’t have that kind of time to decide anything. Why should WE the Taxpayers haft to pay for the Criminal to sit in jail. I say ONE year at most!! If you have been found guilty and sentenced to death.. So Be It!! One year max that we should have to look and deal with you!!

  8. Fishhok240 on June 19th, 2014 8:27 am

    Truth be known, We the taxpayer’s probably spent millions on appeals and baby setting,

    The rich get richer (Lawyer’s)
    The poor get poorer (Taxpayer’s)

    We need to change!!!!!!!!!!!

    Vote them out, Put some new in!!!!

  9. E on June 19th, 2014 8:11 am

    He never should have had the opportunity to commit these murders. 1975 should have been his “Swan Song”. We need to get rid of the laws that protect murderers and other criminals.

  10. INFERNAL BEAR on June 19th, 2014 7:18 am

    Nearly 30 years we paid to babysit this murderous piece of garbage. Unbelievable.

  11. Think about it on June 19th, 2014 7:07 am

    And why was he aloud to live so long supported and fed by tax dollars only to be exicuted? Should have been put to death the same year he murdered his family, I mean did he grant them a waiting period before he took their life? Our judicial system has no justice in it whatsoever for victims, it seems that criminals have more rights than those that crimes were commited against.

  12. Mother of four on June 19th, 2014 6:29 am

    There are some suck people in this world but God has a way of dealing with them and no one should ever hurt not even one if his angels on this earth!!!!

  13. Janet on June 19th, 2014 6:25 am

    He kills his first wife in 75 and got out of Prison. Seriously? So now a second wife and a child is dead because he was set free. At least he’s gone now even if he got more ‘living time’ then his victims!

  14. 429SCJ on June 19th, 2014 5:49 am

    Good bye Henry.

  15. Reader on June 19th, 2014 5:22 am

    Okay, Gov. Scott. You have a pen and a phone (and a calendar). Florida tax payers are tired of paying for these creeps on death row. Let’s show these guys we mean business. Don’t mess with Florida.

  16. Carolyn Bramblett on June 19th, 2014 4:56 am

    I.Q. tests for executions? He was competent enough to carry out the brutal murders. He should have been executed when he murdered his first wife. 1985? Almost 30 years he got to feed off the taxpayers?