Death row inmate to North Carolina: 'Kill me if you can, suckers'
Danny Robbie Hembree considers himself a gentleman of leisure. He enjoys color TV, air conditioning and abundant food. He naps pretty much whenever he feels like it.
He also happens to live on death row at Central Prison in Raleigh, N.C. But that’s not a bad thing, he wrote in a taunting letter to his hometown newspaper, the Gaston Gazette.
In fact, Hembree wrote, the state of North Carolina has taken the "death" out of death row.
"Kill me if you can, suckers. Ha! Ha! Ha!" Hembree gloated in his letter, portions of which were published by the Gazette on Tuesday.
Hembree, 50, was sentenced to death in November for suffocating a 17-year-old girl in 2009, and is also accused of killing two other North Carolina women. But no one has been executed in the state since 2006 because of legal challenges over lethal injections and whether a physician must oversee executions.
"Is the public aware that the chances of my lawful murder taking place in the next 20 years if ever are very slim?" Hembree wrote on lined notebook paper in what he described as an editorial.
Meanwhile, life is sweet. "Is the public aware 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 wrote.
Oh, and he also receives free government healthcare, he pointed out.
The man who prosecuted Hembree, Gaston County Dist. Atty. Locke Bell, was not amused.
"He’s sitting down there looking at the law and laughing," Bell told the Associated Press. "He’s been sentenced to death. He shouldn’t be watching color TV." Hembree's execution should not be delayed, Bell said.
Bring it on, Hembree wrote: "I am a man who is ready to except [sic] his unjust punishment and face God Almighty with a clear conscience unlike you cowards and your cowardly system."
And lest readers dismiss Hembree as a complete sociopath, note that moments after he was convicted in November, he blew a big kiss to his mom.
-- David Zucchino in Durham, N.C.
Photo: Danny Robbie Hembree and his defense lawyer, Rick Beam, in an earlier court proceeding in Gaston County, N.C. Credit: Mike Hensdill / Gaston Gazette