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    Death sentence upheld for man who ordered random Florida murder for ‘body count contest’

    Death sentence upheld for man who ordered random Florida murder for ‘body count contest’

    The Florida Supreme Court upheld the death sentence of James Herard, who ordered the random 2008 execution of a restaurant worker walking home from a bus stop in Lauderhill.

    Herard, 34, was sentenced to death in 2015 for ordering the murder of Eric Jean-Pierre, 39, as part of a “body count contest” with fellow members of his “Bacc Street Crips” street gang. Prosecutors said fellow gang member Tharod Bell pulled the trigger, and the gang members laughed at Jean-Pierre as they fled the scene.

    Bell, 36, pleaded guilty and is currently serving a 50-year sentence. He was already serving seven consecutive life sentences for other crimes.

    Herard, Bell, and three other men were prosecuted a decade ago for a string of violent robberies at Dunkin’ Donuts locations in Delray Beach, Sunrise, Tamarac and Plantation. The Tamarac robbery took place Thanksgiving Day 2008, two weeks after the Jean-Pierre murder.

    In that incident, prosecutors say Herard shot and killed customer Kiem Huynh, 58. Herard was convicted of that crime and sentenced to life in prison.

    The Supreme Court rejected defense arguments that the trial court failed to give Herard due process and should have allowed expert witness testimony about false confessions.

    Other men convicted of participating in the Dunkin’ Donuts robberies were sentenced to life in prison for the crimes.

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