Thursday, December 10, 2009

Something's wrong with our criminal system

Henry Garcia, on Florida's Death Row for raping and killing two elderly Leisure City sisters in January 1983, has died of natural causes while awaiting execution, prison officials said Wednesday.

Garcia, 61, died of natural causes at Union Correctional Institution in Raiford on Nov. 26, said Florida Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger.

He was sentenced to death in 1991 after his conviction for raping and brutally stabbing Julia Ballentine, 90, and sister Mabel Avery, 86, after a break-in.

It was Garcia's second time facing the ultimate punishment: The Florida Supreme Court had overturned an earlier conviction and death sentence, ruling a judge had suppressed key evidence.

Something's terribly wrong with a criminal system in which a person can rob, rape and murder two elderly victims, and then play things out for decades until he dies peacefully in bed of natural causes.

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