Man convicted of killing cousin to be executed - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Man convicted of killing cousin to be executed

Posted: Updated:

By MIKE SCHNEIDER
Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Robert Hendrix didn't want to go back to prison, where he spent time as a teenager. So after his cousin spilled to authorities about an armed burglary they had committed, Hendrix vowed to make sure Elmer Scott never testified against him, even if it meant killing Scott. That's what prosecutors say.

Hendrix, 47, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection Wednesday at the Florida State Prison in Starke for the 1990 murders of Elmer and Michelle Scott at their Lake County home. But he's seeking a last-minute court stay as his lawyer argues that two witnesses for the prosecution were unreliable and that no forensic evidence links him to the crimes.

In August 1990, the night before his trial in the armed burglary case was to begin, Hendrix shot Scott in the face in his trailer home, hit him in the head with the gun and stabbed him in the neck, prosecutors have said. He then used a knife to cut the throat of Scott's wife, Michelle, who fought back before Hendrix shot her three times, they added.

Scott had already made a plea deal with prosecutors in the armed burglary case in which he and Hendrix broke into a house but only Scott was caught. His cooperation led investigators to arrest Hendrix. In the weeks leading up to his trial, prosecutors say, Hendrix told friends he would kill Scott rather than return to prison

But Scott and his attorney, Harry Brody, said the case is plagued by problems.

"There isn't any real forensic evidence placing him at the scene," Brody said. "He maintains the state hasn't proven anything."

Prosecutors say that on the night of the murders, Hendrix's live-in girlfriend -- Denise Turbyville -- drove him from Orange County, where they lived, to the Scotts' trailer in neighboring Lake County and dropped him off. Michelle Scott welcomed Hendrix into the trailer, and told him Elmer Scott was in the bathroom shaving and would be out shortly. When Elmer Scott came out, Hendrix asked to use the bathroom. When he left the bathroom, Hendrix fired shots at Elmer Scott and then grabbed a knife and attacked Michelle Scott, according to prosecutors.

Brody said the two main witnesses against Hendrix, Turbyville and Roger LaForce, who claimed Hendrix told him details about the murders while they shared a cell in the Lake County Jail, are unreliable. According to Brody, both had a self-interest in testifying for prosecutors.

Turbyville pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and was sentenced to 75 years in prison instead of facing the possibility of the death penalty for a first-degree murder charge. LaForce was a confidential informant for a narcotics task force and stood to gain a lighter sentence for his assistance, Hendrix's attorneys say.

"These two main witnesses were terribly compromised," Brody said.

Brody also said the presiding judge had a conflict of interest, Hendrix's trial lawyer was ineffective at presenting mitigating circumstances during sentencing and that Hendrix was shackled during his trial, leading jurors to a biased impression that he was dangerous.

The conflict of interest claim arises from Hendrix's assertion that an attorney of Hendrix's girlfriend had consulted with the presiding judge about the case before the judge joined the bench. The girlfriend, Turbyville, was a star witness for the prosecution. Appellate courts have dismissed the allegation. Hendrix's attorneys also claimed the judge had presided over a criminal case against LaForce.

During sentencing, Hendrix's attorneys failed to call witnesses who could have testified that Hendrix was regularly beaten by his father and had a serious drug addiction, factors that could explain his unbalanced mental state, according to court papers filed by Hendrix.

Through the Attorney General's Office, family members of the victims didn't respond to a request for an interview.

Prosecutors contend Hendrix's claims of error during the trial are without merit.

"Hendrix fashions a cumulative error claim but fails to identify where any court has ever found error in any of his claims that would entitle him to relief," Assistant Attorney General Mitchell Bishop said in a recent court filing.

If the execution is carried out, Hendrix would be the fourth person executed in Florida this year and the 16th since Gov. Rick Scott took office in 2011. A petition is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, and Hendrix has filed a request for a stay of execution with the Florida Supreme Court.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • On Deco DriveMore>>

  • Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson & Brett Ratner

    Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson & Brett Ratner

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 1:27 AM EDT2014-07-29 05:27:04 GMT
    Dwayne "The Rock" JohnsonDwayne "The Rock" Johnson
    When it comes to the movie "Hercules," the big man on screen and the bigwig behind the scenes have more than the movie in common. They share a love of the same hometown.
    When it comes to the movie "Hercules," the big man on screen and the bigwig behind the scenes have more than the movie in common. They share a love of the same hometown.
  • Miami Spa Month - The Betsy Wellness Garden and Spa

    Miami Spa Month - The Betsy Wellness Garden and Spa

    Friday, August 1 2014 12:15 AM EDT2014-08-01 04:15:32 GMT
    If you're in need of some serious R&R, Miami Spa Month runs through Aug. 31. That means you can get pampered and preened without killing your pocket book. Tonight, Deco's professional spa goer Shireen Sandoval is checking us into the Betsy Hotel because that's where the Betsy Wellness Garden & Spa is. The outdoor oasis is the perfect place to relax, get rubbed and realize what's really important in life: balancing your mind, body and spirit.
    If you're in need of some serious R&R, Miami Spa Month runs through Aug. 31. That means you can get pampered and preened without killing your pocket book. Tonight, Deco's professional spa goer Shireen Sandoval is checking us into the Betsy Hotel because that's where the Betsy Wellness Garden & Spa is. The outdoor oasis is the perfect place to relax, get rubbed and realize what's really important in life: balancing your mind, body and spirit.
  • Miami Spice - Palme d'Or at the Biltmore

    Miami Spice - Palme d'Or at the Biltmore

    Friday, August 1 2014 12:05 AM EDT2014-08-01 04:05:04 GMT
    It's time to loosen your belt while tightening your wallet. Miami Spice is back from Aug. 1 though Sept. 30. This year, Spice is changing things and keeping it simple. Three courses, and it doesn't matter where you go; the prices don't change, $23 for lunch and $39 for dinner.
    It's time to loosen your belt while tightening your wallet. Miami Spice is back from Aug. 1 though Sept. 30. This year, Spice is changing things and keeping it simple. Three courses, and it doesn't matter where you go; the prices don't change, $23 for lunch and $39 for dinner.
  • NationalMore>>

  • Cantor to resign from House seat in August

    Cantor to resign from House seat in August

    Friday, August 1 2014 9:28 AM EDT2014-08-01 13:28:47 GMT
    U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor tells a Virginia newspaper he will resign his seat in the House of Representatives months earlier than expected.
    After a surprise primary election loss, U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor will resign his seat in the House of Representatives months earlier than expected.
  • USDA overhauls 50 year-old poultry inspections

    USDA overhauls 50 year-old poultry inspections

    Friday, August 1 2014 9:05 AM EDT2014-08-01 13:05:50 GMT
    The Obama administration is attempting to cut down on thousands of foodborne illnesses linked to chicken and turkey each year with an overhaul of poultry plant inspection rules that are more than 50 years old.
    The Obama administration is moving to cut down on the thousands of foodborne illnesses linked to chicken and turkey each year with an overhaul of poultry plant inspection rules that are more than 50 years old.
  • Solid US job gains expected for 6th straight month

    Solid US job gains expected for 6th straight month

    Friday, August 1 2014 7:23 AM EDT2014-08-01 11:23:20 GMT
    With a host of reports this week pointing to a healthier U.S. economy, analysts expect Friday's monthly jobs report to send a similar message.
    With a host of reports this week pointing to a healthier U.S. economy, analysts expect Friday's monthly jobs report to send a similar message.
  • National SportsMore>>

  • Williams, Ivanovic reach Bank of West quarters

    Williams, Ivanovic reach Bank of West quarters

    Friday, August 1 2014 9:33 AM EDT2014-08-01 13:33:09 GMT
    Venus Williams feels like the hometown girl when she plays at Stanford even though she grew up in Southern California and currently resides in Florida.
    Venus Williams feels like the hometown girl when she plays at Stanford even though she grew up in Southern California and currently resides in Florida.
  • Russia takes in Crimean clubs, Ukraine upset

    Russia takes in Crimean clubs, Ukraine upset

    Friday, August 1 2014 9:27 AM EDT2014-08-01 13:27:47 GMT
    Football clubs from the Crimea region annexed by Russia will play in the Russian leagues this season.
    Football clubs from the Crimea region annexed by Russia will play in the Russian leagues this season.
  • 'B' sample confirms teen weightlifter's doping

    'B' sample confirms teen weightlifter's doping

    Friday, August 1 2014 7:02 AM EDT2014-08-01 11:02:39 GMT
    The Commonwealth Games Federation says a 16-year-old Nigerian weightlifter's backup doping sample has also come back positive for banned substances.
    A 16-year-old Nigerian weightlifter faces being stripped of her Commonwealth Games gold medal after her backup doping sample confirmed a previous finding for banned substances.
Powered by WorldNow

WSVN-TV
Sunbeam Television Corp
1401 79th Street Causeway
Miami, FL 33141

Switchboard: (305) 751-6692
Newsroom: (305) 795-2777

Can't find something?
Connect with us here:
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSVN. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.