In the spring of 1909, Henry Murphy was attacked in Citrus County, Florida. While the conditions under which he was attacked prevented Murphy from being able to identify his attacker, he was able to tell that the assailant was an armed black man. Circumstances suggested that the man who attacked Murphy may have been Jim Henry. Henry was consequently charged with assault with the intent to commit murder. He was brought in front of a jury of the Circuit Court of Citrus County on April 9 and 10, 1909, and found guilty on the circumstantial evidence put forth by the State. He was sentenced to five years imprisonment and hard labor in the State Prison.
A year and a half later, the State’s Attorney received evidence that another man was guilty of the 1909 attack on Henry Murphy. The new defendant was tried and convicted after direct evidence and voluntary admissions concretely established his guilt. Following his conviction, the County Judge, State’s Attorney, Clerk of the Circuit Court, and County Sheriff presented Henry’s case to the State Board of Pardons. On January 5, 1911, Governor Albert W. Gilchrist granted Jim Henry a full pardon.
While Henry was in prison, he worked under lease contracts to private firms. The State had been paid a total of $431.81. In May 1911, this amount was appropriated and paid to Henry for his six hundred twenty-nine days of labor.
- Researched by Sarah Kull
The National Registry of Exonerations is a project of the Newkirk Center for Science & Society at University of California Irvine, the University of Michigan Law School and Michigan State University College of Law. It was founded in 2012 in conjunction with the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law. The Registry provides detailed information about every known exoneration in the United States since 1989—cases in which a person was wrongly convicted of a crime and later cleared of all the charges based on new evidence of innocence. The Registry also maintains a more limited database of known exonerations prior to 1989.
We welcome new information from any source about exonerations already on our list and about cases not in the Registry that might be exonerations.