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Henry Garcia

Florida Death Row Inmate

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Henry Garcia

Henry Garcia

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Julia Ballentine, 90, and her sister Mabel Avery, 86, shared a house in the Leisure City area of Homestead, Florida. On Monday morning, January 17, 1983, concerned neighbors entered the womens' home and found a body in each of the bedrooms.

Avery had fourteen stab wounds and nine defensive wounds on her arms and hands. Ballentine had thirty stab wounds and twelve defensive wounds, and was sexually assaulted prior to death.

Feliciano Aguayo, a social and work acquaintance of Henry Garcia, testified that on the evening of January 15, 1983, he and Garcia played pool prior to Garcia’s date with a young woman. The woman broke off the date, and Aguayo testified that Garcia was upset and asked Aguayo to drive him to Leisure City. After trying to convince Garcia to go home, Aguayo dropped Garcia off at the Leisure City Lounge.

Around 7:00 a.m. on January 16, Aguayo’s mother testified that she saw Garcia running to her house from the direction of the victims’ house, which was half a mile away. Aguayo and his mother both testified that Garcia was covered with fresh blood.

Garcia explained that he had been walking in a nearby field when he was attacked by two men and a woman, and that he had stabbed the woman in self-defense. Garcia showed Aguayo the knife, which had drying blood on it and was bent at the tip. Aguayo noted that Garcia had no visible injuries, except for a scratch around his eye.

Later that day, Aguayo and his mother drove to the spot where they believed Garcia had been attacked, but could find no signs of a struggle.

One of Garcia’s co-workers, Rufina Perez, testified that she overheard Garcia discussing the murder. According to the conversation, Garcia admitted getting into trouble with some women, but that he did not have to worry about them because the women were "already in hell." When asked how he committed the crime, Garcia said, "I went through the back door and I ripped out the screen door."

Source: Florida Commission on Capital Cases

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