In mocking letter, NC death row inmate taunts town that condemned him

Alex Myers Contributor
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If you thought murdering a 17-year-old woman was North Carolina death row inmate Danny Hembree’s low point, think again. Instead of contemplating the meaning of life as he awaits execution, Hembree has been writing to The Gaston Gazette about what a great time he’s having behind bars.

Hembree is a new arrival to death row. He was convicted and sentenced to death in November 2011. And so far, he says, prison life is swell.

“Is the public aware that I am a gentleman of leisure,” he asks in the letter, “watching color TV in the AC, reading, taking naps at will, eating three well balanced hot meals a day? I’m housed in a building that connects to the new 55 million dollar hospital with round the clock free medical care 24/7.”

“I laugh in the face of you self righteous clowns and I spit in the face of your so called justice system,” the letter continues. “The state of North Carolina has sentenced me to death but it’s not real.”

Hembree insists, oddly, that he will never see his sentence carried out unless the citizens of Gaston petition the state to demand it.

Gaston County District Attorney Locke Bell has received two upset-sounding phone calls from the father of Hembree’s victim, who is upset about the contents of the letter and the way Hembree claims he is being treated.

Bell told ABC News, “I got a call from the father of the 17-year-old that he murdered, in tears. He said that this is tearing the family to shreds. This is ripping the wound open.”

Heather’s father said, “He murdered our daughter, got the death penalty and now he’s just sitting in jail laughing at us.'”

While the contents of Hembree’s letter are upsetting, Bell says they are disturbingly true. “There’s a part of me that wants everybody to read that letter because it tells a lot of truth about death row,” Bell said.

Hembree, who is also a suspect in two other murders, would like nothing better.

“I am a man who is ready to except [sic] his unjustful punishment and face God almighty with a clean conscience,” he writes, “unlike you cowards and your cowardly system. Kill me if you can suckers. Ha! Ha! Ha!”

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