The Commission on Capital Cases was not funded in the FY 2011-2012 General Appropriations Act, and the Commission ceased operations on June 30, 2011. This site and the Commission website are being retained to provide access to historical materials.

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Last NameFirst NamePictureDC NumberAgencyCase Summary
GarciaHenry 113069CCRC-SCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
11/26/2009  Dead
3/29/2007USDC07-20843Habeas Corpus
4/8/2008USDC07-20843Habeas denied
7/22/2008USDC07-20843COA Application
2/20/2009USDC07-20843COA granted
7/22/2008USCA08-14266Habeas Appeal
5/20/2008FSC08-9433.850 Appeal
2/14/2008CC85-236403.850 Motion

Current Attorney


Last Updated

2008-01-09 11:43:13.0

Case Summary
Direct Links

The Commission on Capital Cases updates this information regularly

The Commission on Capital Cases updates thisinformation regularly.  This information, however, is subject to change and maynot reflect the latest status of an inmate’s case and should not be relied uponfor statistical or legal purposes. 


GARCIA, Henry (W/M)

DC#    113069

DOB: 09/26/48


­­­­Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Dade County Case # 85-23640-B

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Arthur Rothenberg

Attorney, Trial: Sandra Jaggard – Private

Attorney, Direct Appeal: Michael Zelman – Private

Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  William Hennis & RoseanneEckert – CCRC-S


Date of Offense:         01/16/83

Date of Sentence:       08/19/88

Date of Resentence:    07/10/91


Circumstances of Offense:


Julia Ballentine, 90, and her sister Mabel Avery, 86, shareda house in the Leisure City area of Homestead, Florida.  On Monday morning,01/17/83, neighbors became concerned when the sisters did not answer theirphone.  After knocking on the door and windows and receiving no answer, theneighbors discovered that the rear screen door was slashed open.  One of theneighbors entered the house and found a body in each of the bedrooms.  Averyhad fourteen stab wounds and nine defensive wounds on her arms and hands. Ballentine had thirty stab wounds and twelve defensive wounds, and was sexuallyassaulted prior to death.  The medical examiner testified that the murderoccurred in the early morning hours of Sunday, 01/16/83. 


Feliciano Aguayo, a social and work acquaintance of HenryGarcia, testified that on the evening of 01/15/83, he and Garcia played poolprior to Garcia’s date with a young woman.  The woman broke off the date, andAguayo testified that Garcia was upset and asked Aguayo to drive him to LeisureCity.  After trying to convince Garcia to go home, Aguayo dropped Garcia off atthe Leisure City Lounge. 


Around 7:00 a.m. on 01/16/83, Aguayo’s mother testified thatshe saw Garcia running to her house from the direction of the victims’ house,which was half a mile away.  Aguayo and his mother both testified that Garciawas covered with fresh blood.  Garcia explained that he had been walking in anearby field when he was attacked by two men and a woman, and that he hadstabbed the woman in self-defense.  Garcia showed Aguayo the knife, which haddrying blood on it and was bent at the tip.  Aguayo noted that Garcia had novisible injuries, except for a scratch around his eye.  Later that day, Aguayoand his mother drove to the spot where they believed Garcia had been attacked,but could find no signs of a struggle. 


One of Garcia’s co-workers, Rufina Perez, testified that sheoverheard Garcia discussing the murder.  According to the conversation, Garciaadmitted getting into trouble with some women, but that he did not have toworry about them because the women were “already in hell.”  When asked how hecommitted the crime, Garcia said, “I went through the back door and I rippedout the screen door.” 


Additional Information:


In the penalty phase of trial, the State presented evidenceof Garcia’s prior criminal history, and used this as an aggravatingcircumstance.  Garcia’s prior criminal history included convictions for assaultwith intent to rob in 1968, bank robbery and use of a dangerous weapon in Mayof 1972, mutiny at a U.S. penitentiary in January of 1979, and aggravatedbattery with the use of a deadly weapon on 07/01/83. 


Trial Summary:


10/09/85          Indicted as follows:

                                    Count I            First-DegreeMurder

                                    Count II          First-DegreeMurder

                                    Count III         SexualBattery

                                    Count IV         ArmedBurglary

05/18/88          Jury returned guilty verdicts on allcounts of the indictment

06/01/88          Jury recommended a death sentence for eachmurder by votes of


08/19/88          Sentenced as follows:

                                    Count I            First-DegreeMurder – Death

                                    Count II          First-DegreeMurder – Death

                                    Count III         SexualBattery – Life Imprisonment

                                    Count IV         ArmedBurglary – Life Imprisonment


06/14/90          FSC reversed the convictions, vacated the sentences,and remanded for a new trial

05/23/91          Jury returned guilty verdicts on allcounts of the indictment

05/28/91          Jury recommended a death sentence for theBallentine murder by a vote of

12-0 and life imprisonment for the Avery murder

07/10/91          The judge overrode the jury recommendationof life imprisonment and resentenced Garcia to death for both the Ballentineand Avery murders



Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC# 73,075

564 So. 2d 124


09/06/88          Appeal filed

06/14/90          FSC reversed the convictions, vacated thedeath sentence, and remanded for a new trial

08/21/90          Rehearing denied

09/20/90          Mandate issued


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal (afterresentencing)

FSC# 78,411

644 So. 2d 59


08/14/91          Appeal filed

08/11/94          FSC affirmed convictions and sentences

10/24/94          Rehearing denied

11/29/94          Mandate issued


U.S. Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Certiorari

USSC# 94-8251

514 U.S. 1085


01/23/95          Petition filed

04/24/95          USSC denied Petition


Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC# 85-23640-B


03/26/97          Motion filed

08/01/97          Motion amended

04/01/04          CC denied Motion


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Motion Appeal

FSC# 04-866

949 So. 2d 980


05/18/04          Appeal filed

11/09/06          FSC affirmed denial of the motion

02/15/07          Rehearing denied

03/05/07          Mandate issued


Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus

FSC# 05-1316

949 So. 2d 980


07/27/05          Petition filed

11/09/06          FSC denied the petition

03/05/07          Mandate issued


U.S. District Court, Southern District – Petition forWrit of Habeas Corpus

USDC# 07-20843



03/29/07          Petition filed


Factors Contributing to the Delay in Imposition ofSentence:


The delay appears to result from Garcia’s resentencing andthe Direct Appeal after resentencing that was pending for three years (08/14/91– 08/11/94) and the 3.850 Motion that was pending from 03/26/97 – 04/01/04. 


Case Information:


Garcia filed a Direct Appeal with the Florida Supreme Courton 09/06/88.  His appeal centered on the Circuit Court’s exclusion of payrollrecords that were argued to be exculpatory evidence and the State’s statementto the jury that the police were unable to find exculpatory evidence becausenone existed.   Garcia argued that a State witness, Rufina Perez, who claimedto overhear a confession by Garcia, could not have overheard Garcia becauseGarcia was no longer working with Perez at the time of the alleged confession. The payroll records, which Garcia alleged could prove the veracity of hisstatement and impeach the testimony of Perez, were excluded from trial evidenceas unreliable and untrustworthy.  The FSC concluded that the payroll recordswere relevant admissible evidence and the statements by the State about thelack of exculpatory evidence were prejudicial to Garcia’s case and denied himhis right to a fair trial.  On 06/14/90, the FSC reversed Garcia’s convictions,vacated his sentences, and remanded the case for a new trial. 


After resentencing, Garcia filed a Direct Appeal with theFlorida Supreme Court on 08/14/91, citing the following errors:  denial ofmotions for judgment of acquittal; reading some portions of the trial testimonyto the jury and failing to read other portions; allowing the prosecutor tointroduce inadmissible and prejudicial hearsay; prosecutorial misconduct duringthe trial (primarily, during closing arguments); erroneously instructing thejury on the elements of the crimes; admitting and allowing the use ofinflammatory photographs; allowing the State to prove the falsehood of Garcia’salibi; erroneously instructing the jury on circumstantial evidence; excusing ajuror based on inconsistent and inconclusive statements about the deathpenalty; the cumulative effect of guilt phase errors mandates reversal;improper finding of all aggravating circumstances (currently under prisonsentence; prior felony conviction; murder committed during a felony; heinous,atrocious or cruel murder); failing to find any mitigating circumstances; andoverriding the jury recommendation of life imprisonment for one of themurders.  The FSC affirmed the convictions and sentences on 08/11/94. 


Garcia filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the U.S.Supreme Court on 01/23/95 that was denied on 04/24/95.


Garcia filed a 3.850 Motion with the Circuit Court on03/26/97 and amended the motion on 08/01/97.  The motion was denied by theCircuit Court on 04/01/04. 


Garcia filed a 3.850 Motion Appeal with the Florida SupremeCourt on 05/18/04, citing the following issues: waiver of penalty phase claims,conflict of interest for postconviction counsel, denial of access to publicrecords, and evidentiary hearing claims.  On 11/09/06, the FSC affirmed thedenial of the motion.


Garcia filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with theFlorida Supreme Court on 07/27/05, citing allegations of ineffective assistanceof counsel.  On 11/09/06, the FSC denied the petition.


Garcia filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with theU.S. District Court, Southern District on 03/29/07 that is pending.


Garcia died from natural causes on 11/26/09.





Report Date:   12/07/01          JFL

Approved:       12/17/01          WS

Updated:         11/30/09          CAR