Danny Hembree, convicted of murder and sentenced to death, says life on the row isn’t so bad and predicted it would be years before he is executed, wrote in a taunting letter to his hometown newspaper.
The Gaston Gazette was asked by Hembree to publish his two-page letter as an editorial.
Last November a Gaston County jury convicted the 50-year-old Hembree of murdering 17-year-old Heather Catterton after a night of sex and drugs. Her body was later found dumped in a remote area of Clover, S.C.
Her father, Nick Catterton, said Tuesday night that he’d read Hembree’s letter.
“From the way I read it, he is making a mockery out of the justice system,” said Catterton.
Hembree wrote in the letter, “Is the public aware that I am a gentleman of leisure, watching color TV in the A/C, reading, taking naps at will, eating three well-balanced meals a day?”
He also wrote, “Is the public aware that the chances of my lawful murder taking place in the next 20 years, if ever, are very slim?”
Gaston County District Attorney Locke Bell, who prosecuted Hembree, reluctantly agreed that Hembree is right.
“Right now with some of the laws like the Racial Justice Act, it is questionable it will ever happen,” said Bell.
The Racial Justice Act is a law that allows a convicted criminal to argue that he was the victim of racial discrimination.
Even in this case where Hembree is white, the victim was white, and Bell himself is white, Bell said Hembree could still argue racial discrimination and tie-up the case on appeal for years.
Bell said taxpayers needed to talk to their state legislators and try to modify the law.
Hembree’s letter ended with a cold challenge. “Kill me if you can suckers. Ha! Ha! Ha!”
Nick Catterton struggled to find the words to explain how much pain Hembree’s letter had caused him and the Catterton family.
“I think he is probably one of the most inhumane people I know walking the earth right now,” Catterton said.