James Herard to be sentenced Friday in murder of South Fla. man

Death penalty sought for 3 accused of robbing Dunkin' Donuts stores

TAMARAC, Fla. – Prosecutors in Broward County are pushing for the death penalty against three men accused of robbing Dunkin' Donuts stores across South Florida in 2008.

James Herard, who is now 25, faces a possible death sentence for the death of a man walking home from work in November 2008.

Prosecutors said Herard and other gang members were essentially hunting for humans.

"They want to claim James Herard is some big gang leader," said Herard. "(They are) all labels they have on me which ain't correct."

Herard is already serving life -- a few times over -- for murdering a customer during a robbery at a Tamarac doughnut shop a few weeks later on Thanksgiving Day.

In a last chance to sway the judge's decision, Herard brought in a parade of character witnesses.

"He was funny, helpful, caring," said Mervin Marrett. "He's loyal."

"He teach me English," said Anthony Cruz. "I learned to read and write."

One of the witnesses brought in Friday was in shackles. Most know Herard as co-inmates at the Broward County Jail.

"It was never a bad time," said Deitrich Johnson. "I never seen him get into any altercations with anybody."

"He helped me get in contact with my family," said Angelo Coicou. "He helped me far as -- I didn't know how to read, basically."

"I was going through a lot, and he said, 'Start reading the Bible,'" said Wallace Salters.

The jury that convicted Herard heard his confession to police, saying that he encouraged the murder for his gang street-cred.

Herard said he was a kid coerced into confessing.

"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," said Herard.

About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."