Victims of the State

 Washington, DC

Joseph Heard


Joseph Heard who is deaf, mute, and mentally impaired, was jailed in 1999 on a trespassing charge from a year earlier even though a judge had previously freed him. Prison officials then lost track of his records and he was not freed until 670 days later. In July 2005, he was awarded $1.1 million for his wrongful imprisonment. His settlement could grow to $1.55 million as he has a case against the prison's medical care contractor who allegedly administered psychotropic drugs to him without his consent.  [9/05]

 Duval County, FL

Chad Heins

Apr 17, 1994 (Mayport)

Chad Heins was convicted of the murder of his 20-year-old pregnant sister-in-law, Tina Heins. Two jailhouse informants testified that Heins spontaneously confessed the crime to them. In 2006, Heins's conviction was overturned after DNA tests of fingernail scrapings and pubic hairs revealed that Tina had contact with an unknown male prior to her death. Charges against Heins were dropped in Dec. 2007.  (Times-Union) (Prosecutor Misconduct)

 Cook County, IL

Bill Heirens

June 1945 - Jan 1946

Bill Heirens, a 17-year-old University of Chicago student, pleaded guilty to three separate murders in exchange for three life sentences when it became apparent that he would not get a fair trial and could be executed within weeks. The victims were two adult women, and 6-year-old Suzanne Degnan, who was found dismembered. Heirens was a thief who was caught burglarizing a home in the neighborhood of the murders months after they occurred. No Miranda rights or appeals process then existed. Heirens withstood being tortured by police and said he could have withstood more, but he succumbed after the Chicago Tribune published a false story that gave a purported confession by Heirens. Heirens and his lawyers felt that that story, which was picked up by other newspapers, would hopelessly taint any jury pool. Heirens is still imprisoned after 63 years at age 80 in 2009.  Two books were written about the case, the pro-prosecution, Before I Kill More..., and the pro-defense, William Heirens: His Day in Court.  (Life) (American Justice) (Crime Library) (JD) (CNN)  [10/07]

Donald Heistand - See Tobias Five

Buchanan County, MO 

Sandy Hemme

Nov 13, 1980

Sandy Lynn Hemme was convicted of murdering Patricia Jeschke due to a confession that was extracted from her when she was delusional.  (IIPPI)

Sebastian County, AR

Wilburn Henderson

Nov 26, 1980 (Ft. Smith)

Wilburn L. Henderson was sentenced to death for the murder of Willa Dean O'Neal. The murder occurred during an alleged robbery of $41 at a Ft. Smith furniture store that the victim owned with her husband. Police found a yellow piece of paper in the store containing two phone numbers that a real estate agent had given to Henderson. Henderson conceded the paper was his and that he must have dropped it when he was in the store days before the murder. Under police interrogation Henderson gave a statement that he had just happened to have been in the store when another man committed the crime. He later recanted the statement saying he only made it because he feared police would harm him. According to the prosecution, Henderson had obtained a gun from a pawnshop and then pawned it back just after the murder. However, ballistics tests on the gun were inconclusive that it was the murder weapon.
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McLean County, IL 

David Hendricks

Nov 5, 1983 (Bloomington)

David Hendricks was convicted of murdering his wife, Susan, 30, and their three children, Becky, 9, Grace, 7, and Benjy, 5. The murders occurred at 313 Carl Drive in Bloomington. While traveling in Wisconsin, Hendricks called police to check on his family. No one had answered the phone all weekend and he was worried. When police and neighbors searched his home the next day, they found that Hendricks' entire family had been hacked to death with an ax and butcher knife. When Hendricks returned later that day, police questioned him and checked his clothes and car for bloodstains. But the search was inconclusive, and Hendricks' alibi of having left for Wisconsin around 11:30 p.m. on November 4, appeared solid.

While his wife was at a baby shower, Hendricks said he taken his children out for a pizza at about 7:30 p.m. on November 4. According to him, they then played in an amusement area and returned home at 9:30 p.m. He said his wife returned at 10:45 p.m. and he left for his business trip shortly thereafter. But after studying the children's bodies, medical examiners discovered an apparent hole in Hendricks' story. Ordinarily, food leaves the stomach and moves into the small intestine within two hours. However, in all three children, vegetarian pizza toppings were still in their stomachs, which led investigators to estimate their time of death sometime around 9:30 p.m., while Hendricks was still at home. Hendricks' defense attorney hammered away at the only physical evidence against him, pointing out that physical activity or trauma can affect the rate of digestion. However, Hendricks was convicted of four counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Hendricks' conviction was later overturned because an appeals court found the prosecution's argument of an alleged motive irrelevant and prejudicial. The prosecution introduced evidence that Hendricks was a member of a conservative religious group which shunned divorce and that he made passes at female models he had hired for advertising purposes. At Hendricks' 1991 retrial the prosecution presented the testimony of Danny Wayne Stark, a jailhouse informant, who said that Hendricks confessed to the slayings. However, the defense presented three inmates who testified that Stark was known as a liar. The retrial jury acquitted Hendricks. Jurors said the prosecution had not proven its case. A book was written about the case entitled Reasonable Doubt by Steve Vogel.  (Archives)  [6/08]

Kamani Hendricks - See Auguste & Hendricks

Dimitri Henley - See Whitewater Three

Franklin County, OH

Keith Henness

Mar 20, 1992

Warren Keith Henness's ex-wife, Tabatha Lynn, and her male friends robbed Henness and his friend, Richard Myers, 51. Henness got away but Myers was killed. Tabatha blamed the murder on Henness. As a result, he was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Tabatha Lynn is reportedly something of “black widow” who has a history of robbing husbands/lovers and having them die suspicious deaths.  (CCADP)  [3/05]

 Cumberland County, NC

Timothy Hennis

May 9, 1985

Timothy B. Hennis was sentenced to death for the rape and murder of Kathryn Eastburn and the murder of her daughters, Kara, 5, and Erin, 3. Hennis was an Army sergeant stationed at Fort Bragg. He had been given the Eastburn Family dog two days before the murder because the Eastburns were being transferred to England. The authorities tested blood, semen and hair samples, but none of the tests matched Hennis. The prosecution's case rested on two eyewitnesses who came forward well after the crime, one of whom dramatically altered a description of the perpetrator over time. The prosecution also introduced nearly 100 photographs of the victims' bodies – an inflammatory tactic that led to reversal of the conviction. Upon retrial in 1989, the flaws in the witnesses' testimony were exposed and the jury acquitted Hennis of all charges.  (PC) (ISI)  [7/05]

 Dallas County, TX

Eugene Henton

Feb 18, 1984

Eugene Ivory Henton was charged with sexual assault. In return for pleading guilty to the crime, he was sentenced to four years in prison, of which he served 18 months. Despite his guilty plea, DNA tests exonerated Henton of the crime in 2005.  (IP)  [1/07]

Alejandro Hernandez - See Cruz & Hernandez

Hampden County, MA 

Angel Hernandez

Dec 9, 1987 (Chicopee)

Angel Hernandez is currently known as Eduardo Velasquez. Hernandez was convicted of raping a female college student in Chicopee. Hernandez maintained that the police were detaining him at the time of the rape. Police refused to confirm this alibi. In 2001, DNA tests exonerated him. In 2002, the new DA secured from the police a computer printout that showed Hernandez's alibi to be true.  (CIPM) (IP)  [10/05]

Jose Hernandez - See Arcadia Innocents

Deschutes County, OR 

Robert  Hernandez


Robert Hernandez was convicted in 2009 of child abuse charges against a 6-year-old girl and sentenced to 31 years in prison. Hernandez lived with his girlfriend Tamara Denetclaw. The alleged victim was Denetclaw's cousin whom the couple had been raising since the child was 2. The couple raised the child because her mother lived on the streets and couldn't take care of her. The mother was also legally married to a registered sex offender and there are two registered sex offenders on her side of the family. When the child was 6 the mother decided she wanted her back. Since Hernandez and Denetclaw did not have custody, they had to comply. Many weeks later the mother brought back the child back saying she couldn't take care of her.

At an interview at the Kids Center, a child abuse organization, the child reportedly gave a taped statement that she was abused. The Center sent the child home with Hernandez. They later claimed they did not know what else to do. The Center also told the child's mother what was said, but never mentioned Hernandez. They later claimed that they did not tell her Hernandez was the abuser because they were afraid the mother would beat Hernandez up.

The Kids Center told the mother they taped a medical evaluation of her child. They had her sign a paper saying they would not use their child's statement for teaching purposes and that the reason they taped her child was so that her child would not have to testify in court. However, at Hernandez's trial, the Kids Center claimed that they did not tape the child; that it is not their policy to tape medical evaluations; and that they took notes. But when asked to see the notes, they said they did not keep them; they shredded them. The child testified for two days, but never mentioned Hernandez.

The medical examiner said he could not diagnose or confirm any abuse. Hernandez gave a confession to the alleged charges which he contends was coerced. A psychologist testified that Hernandez tested in the 95 percentile of being a person who says what people want to hear. The psychologist was the only trial witness the defense was allowed to call. The District Attorney, Mike Dugan, was one of the founders of the Kids Center. Dugan was voted out of office in 2010 and the new DA fired the original prosecutor in the case.  (Source: Relative of Hernandez)  [2/11]

Cameron County, TX 

Leonel Torres Herrera

Sept 29, 1981

Leonel Torres Herrera was sentenced to death for murdering two police officers, David Rucker and Enrique Carrisalez. The murders occurred at separate locations along a highway between Brownsville and Los Fresnos. Enrique Hernandez, Carrisalez's patrol car partner, identified Herrera. Hernandez also said Herrera was only person in the car that they stopped. Carrisalez, who did not die until 9 days after he was shot, identified Herrera from a single photo. A license plate check showed that the stopped car belonged to Herrera's live in girlfriend.

In 1984, after Herrera's brother Raul was murdered, Raul's attorney came forward and signed an affidavit stating that Raul told him he had killed Rucker and Carrisalez. A former cellmate of Raul also came forward and signed a similar affidavit. Raul's son, Raul Jr., who was nine at the time of the killings, signed a third affidavit. It averred that he had witnessed the killings. Jose Ybarra, Jr., a schoolmate of the Herrera brothers, signed a fourth affidavit. Ybarra alleged that Raul Sr. told him in 1983 that he had shot the two police officers. Herrera alleged that law enforcement officials were aware of Ybarra's statement and had withheld it in violation of Brady v. Maryland. Armed with these affidavits, Herrera petitioned for a new trial, but was denied relief in state courts. One court did dismiss Herrera's Brady claim due to lack of evidence. Herrera's appeal eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court, where it was argued in Oct. 1992.

In Jan. 1993, the Supreme Court ruled that Herrera's actual innocence was not a bar to his execution. He had to show that there were procedural errors in his trial in order to gain relief. Justice Rehnquist wrote that the “presumption of innocence disappears” once a defendant has been convicted in a fair trial. Dissenting Justice Blackmun wrote: “The execution of a person who can show that he is innocent comes perilously close to simple murder.” Herrera was executed four months after the ruling on May 12, 1993.  (Herrera v. Collins)  [1/07]

Jefferson County, MO 

Hess & Craig

Jan 7, 1929

Walter Hess and Alvin Craig were convicted of the murder of Virgil Romine, an attendant at a restaurant associated with the Artesian Park filling station near St. Louis. After being shot and prior to his death, Romine mistakenly claimed that his assailants were the same fellows who put slugs in a restaurant slot machine some weeks before. Upon being visited by the police, Hess and Craig readily admitted they were the ones who had slugged the restaurant's slot machine. However, they denied any knowledge of the murder. Attempts at trial to ban hearsay testimony regarding what Romine said about his assailants were denied on the grounds that Romine gave a dying declaration. A year after the defendants' convictions the real perpetrators were identified and convicted. Missouri Governor Caulfield then pardoned Hess and Craig on the grounds that they were innocent.  (CTI)  [6/08]

Genesee County, MI 

William Hetherington

Sept 24, 1985

William J. “Wil” Hetherington was convicted of raping his wife, Linda. Previous to the passage of a new Michigan law, a husband could be convicted of assaulting his wife, but not raping her, as consent to sex was viewed a part of the marriage contract. The new rape law only applied to married couples who lived separately. A divorce court had frozen all Hetherington's assets so he had no money to hire a lawyer or make bond. Nevertheless, the criminal court ruled that he was not indigent and refused to provide him with a lawyer. There was no physical evidence. A pelvic examination of Linda at a hospital three hours after the alleged offense showed no evidence of injury or forced penetration. The examining doctor described the lack of evidence as “very unusual.”
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Greer County, OK

Troy Hickey

Jan 21, 1988 (Granite)

Troy Hickey was convicted of murdering inmate Richard Allen Payne at the Oklahoma State Reformatory at Granite. Payne's cellmate, Bobby Petkoff, who was serving a life sentence for murdering his brother, first told authorities that he had found Payne lying on the floor, bleeding, when he returned to his cell. Later, Petkoff changed his story and claimed that inmate Steve Ness stabbed Payne while another inmate, whom he did not know, held him at knifepoint. When shown a photo lineup, Petkoff picked out the unknown accomplice. However, Petkoff was later walked past Hickey and changed his identification of the unknown accomplice to Hickey. This identification was illegal because it was a “showup identification.”

Three inmates testified against Hickey, including Petkoff. All were given deals for their testimony, but the existence of the deals were hidden at trial. Hickey later found out that Petkoff was originally a prime suspect in the murder. He also found that Petkoff had been covered in blood at the time of the stabbing. It would seem likely that if Hickey had held him down, Hickey would have been covered in blood as well, but he had no blood on any of his clothing or on anything that he owned. In 1996, Ness signed an affidavit stating that he murdered Payne and that Hickey was not with him at the time. The affidavit also stated that Ness hardly knew Hickey at the time of the crime, and that Hickey's conviction was due to mistaken identity by inmate witnesses, after weeks of pressure and coercion by state authorities.  (Justice: Denied)  [10/08]

Jackson County, IN 

Charles Hickman

Jan 2005

Charles Hickman was charged with murdering Katlyn “Katie” Collman. He confessed that several other people abducted Katie to scare her into not talking about a methamphetamine lab that she accidentally discovered. He told police that her abductors took her to a creek 15 miles north of her Crothersville home, and that while he was watching her, she accidentally fell into the creek and drowned. Prosecutors have since dropped charges as DNA tests have since linked another man to Katie's death. They no longer believe Hickman's elaborate confession.  (JD)  [2/07]

Dane County, WI 

Anthony Hicks

Nov 15, 1990 (Madison)

Anthony Hicks, a black man, was convicted of raping and robbing a white woman identified as Diane F., 26. The crime occurred in the victim's Madison apartment on Schroeder Road in 1991. The victim identified Hicks as her assailant. DNA tests exonerated Hicks in 1997. Hicks sued his trial lawyer and won $2.6 million for malpractice for not conducting the DNA tests that would have prevented his conviction.  (IP)  [10/05]

Lake County, IN 

Larry Hicks

Feb 1978

Larry Hicks was sentenced to death for the murders of Norton Miller and Stephen Cosby. Police investigating the homicides followed a trail of blood into the house of a drunken man named Bernard Scates, who was asleep on the floor. Two women were trying to clean bloodstains off the floor. Scates claimed that Hicks was involved in the murders, and the two women backed his story. Four days later, Scates killed himself in jail, after having told fellow prisoners that Hicks had nothing to do with the murders. Nonetheless, the two women testified against Hicks during his day and a half trial. Fortunately, Hicks got a new lawyer who was able to demonstrate the witnesses had lied. Hicks was granted a new trial at which he was acquitted of all charges.  (PC) (CWC) (The Ordeal of LH)  [7/05]

Olmado Hidalgo - See Lemus & Hidalgo

 Suffolk County, MA

Christina Hill

Aug 11, 1987

Christina Hill, 17, was convicted of poisoning to death 2-year-old Henry Gallop. Hill was convicted after Boston Herald reporter Michelle Caruso coerced a friend of Hill, Leslie Limehouse, 19, to give perjured testimony against her. When retried, Hill was acquitted.  [11/05]

Harold Hill - See Young, Hill, & Williams

Salt Lake County, UT 

Joe Hill

Jan 10, 1914

“Just before 10 pm on the night of 10 January, 1914, John Morrison, a Salt Lake City, Utah, grocer and a former policeman, was closing his store with his two sons, Arling and Merlin. Two men wearing red bandannas forced their way into the store. One of the intruders shouted 'we've got you now', levelled a handgun and shot Morrison. Arling Morrison grabbed his father's old service revolver and fired two shots at the masked men, who returned fire and fled the scene. Merlin, the younger child, stayed hidden in the back of the store.”
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Rovaughn Hill - See Whitewater Three

Jefferson County, AL

Anthony Ray Hinton


Anthony Ray Hinton was sentenced to death for the murders of two restaurant managers. The victims were John Davidson, an assistant manager at a Mrs. Winner's Chicken & Biscuits restaurant in Southside Birmingham and Thomas Vason, an assistant manager at a Captain D's restaurant on First Avenue North in Woodlawn. The managers were shot during robberies in February and July 1985. In a third robbery at Quincy's steakhouse in Bessemer, the manager, Sidney Smotherman, was shot, but survived. Smotherman subsequently identified Hinton as his assailant. Hinton was never charged for this robbery, but he was convicted of the murders in the first two robberies because the gun used in the third robbery was purportedly the same weapon as that used in the first two robberies. Similar restaurant robberies occurred in the area after Hinton's arrest.
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