South Florida

Convicted Dunkin' Donuts Killer James Herard Gets Death Penalty

A South Florida man convicted of murdering two people during a string of Dunkin' Donuts robberies in 2008 received the death penalty Friday.

James Herard, 25, was facing the death sentence for his role in the robberies and murders. He was convicted on 18 of 19 counts last May.

As Friday's sentencing hearing began, Herard nodded in and out while Judge Paul Backman discussed his conviction.

He showed little emotion as the sentence was handed down, but his mother burst into tears as he was escorted out of the courtroom.

Authorities said Herard was part of a group that killed Eric Jean Pierre on Nov. 14, 2008 in Broward. Days later, on Thanksgiving Day, Kiem Huynh was also murdered during another robbery.

Herard had already been given nine life sentences by a Palm Beach County judge related to the violent robberies, done when Herard was just 19 years old.

Prosecutors said Herard didn't kill Pierre but ordered another man, Tharod Bell, to kill him. Herard was the leader of a gang that had a body count competition.

“When he saw Eric Jean Pierre walking down the street he handed the 20 gauge shotgun to Tharod Bell. He ordered fellow gang member Bell to kill him as a rite of passage and to get him a body," Judge Backman said.

Herard made national news when he barked like a dog during an appearance before Broward Circuit Judge John Hurley after his initial arrest. He has also dared Judge Backman to give him the death penalty.

"Honestly and truly, I’m not asking you to spare me," Herard said at a September hearing. "Go ahead and do what you gonna do. I pretty much dare you to give me the death sentence because I’m innocent."

Herard has already said he'll appeal the sentence.

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