A South Florida man convicted of murdering two people during a string of Dunkin’ Donuts robberies in 2008, dared a judge Friday to sentence him to death.
“Honestly and truly, I’m not asking you to spare me,” James Herard said in Broward County courtroom on Friday. “Go ahead and do what you gonna do. I pretty much dare you to give me the death sentence because I’m innocent.”
Herard, 25, was convicted on 18 of 19 counts by the Fort Lauderdale jury in May. The same jury that convicted him has recommended the death penalty for Herard.
Herard did not testify during the trial, so Friday was his last chance to speak in court before the judge hands down his sentence.
“I’m actually hoping you give me the death penalty because I know the Supreme Court won’t allow me to die for something I didn’t commit,” Herard said Friday.
Prosecutors say Herard didn’t pull the trigger in the 2008 murder of 39-year-old Eric Jean-Pierre. But, they say he, along with other members of a gang, were part of a “body count competition” and Herard pushed Tharod Bell to murder Jean-Pierre.
“They’re claiming I encouraged Tharod Bell to shoot someone, and how I did that, I don’t know,” Herard told the court.
Throughout Friday’s hearing, Herard’s defense team brought up numerous people, many convicted felons, who say Herard is a motivator, tutor, and counselor to them. The testimony brought Herard’s mom, who was in the courtroom to tears.
Herard was previously convicted of the murder of 58-year-old Kiem Huynh in 2008. He received sentences of life imprisonment for Huynh’s death.
Herard made national news when he barked like a dog during an appearance before Broward Circuit Judge John Hurley after his arrest.