*So you want to be a shot-caller? One Florida man who has made the decision to be odd whenever he appears in court may now get his chance to call the shots. James Herard, 24, a former gang member with the Bacc Street Crips was convicted of a brutal armed robbery in 2008 at a Dunkin Donuts in Tamarac, Florida, has appeared in court barking like a dog, and now, in his recent court appearance, where he is actually trying to get a sentence overturned, he taunted the judge and dared her to give him the death penalty.
Interesting strategies, indeed. It’ll be even more interesting to see how they play out for him.
When the charges were being read to him initially, (when he barked) Herard was told that he wasn’t taking the charges seriously and didn’t appear to recognize the weight of his crimes. Two people have died, in separate incidents, as a result of him “hunting humans for sport in a body-count contest,” according to prosecutors.
Kiem Huynh, a customer at the Dunkin Donuts store who was shot in the face as Herard left the store, died in that robbery. A crime for which Herard had already been given multiple life sentences. And Eric Jean-Pierre, 39, was shot and killed on his way home from work on the night of November 14, 2008. And in June of this year, the same jury that sentenced him in Huynh’s case, recommended the death penalty for a man in a totally separate, yet equally brutal case.
Herard had a boastful attitude when talking about the death of Jean-Pierre.
According to the Sun-Sentinel he said, “That’s not my body, but you might as well give it to me, because he [another gang member] wouldn’t have pulled the trigger if I didn’t provoke it.”
The terrified Jean-Pierre had seemingly been picked at random by Tharod Bell, a 26-year-old gang member who shot the man based on orders by Herard, who had promised him a rise in status in the gang for doing so. He was shot in the chest with Herard’s shotgun at close-point range.
A jury of six men and six women recommended the death penalty in his case and he actually dared the judge to give it to him.
Herard, who chose to actually speak in court in a language humans could understand this past Friday – instead of barking like a dog, said to the judge, “Go ahead and do what you gonna do. I pretty much dare you to give me the death sentence because I’m innocent.”
Wouldn’t you have given anything to see the smirk on the judge’s face as she shook her head in a “You dare me, huh” kind of way?
And here’s where the taunting came in: “I’m actually hoping you give me the death penalty because I know the Supreme Court won’t allow me to die for something I didn’t commit.”
Get the full story at Broward Palm Beach New Times and watch WTVJ’s report on the outburst directly below.