A long shot and a legal appeal: The final hours before an execution

June 20, 2014

“Frankly, John, it is our last shot. It is our last hope. The odds are stacked against us, but we might make it. We might be able to stop this execution. You told me you didn’t need me holding your hand, you wanted me fighting in the courts, and that’s what I’m doing. I got to tell you, man, it’s a long shot. This may be the last time we talk.”

John Henry, a convicted murderer, was scheduled to die on Wednesday in Florida. Before Henry’s lethal injection — the third such execution in less than 24 hours — a story unfolded that had also played out in Georgia and Missouri the previous day. As a convicted killer faced a looming execution, a defense attorney filed motions and appeals in an attempt to stop the injection, ultimately appealing to the Supreme Court. Monica Hesse, reporting from Florida, told the story of a lawyer’s efforts in those final hours.

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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Mark Berman · June 19, 2014