A death row inmate with ties to Bradley County has won an appeal to have his sentence changed to life in prison.
John Patrick Henretta was found guilty of the 1988 murder of Frances Rose Crabtree in Bradley County and sentenced to death.
Judge Jon Blackwood changed the sentence during an August hearing.
“The Court concludes that Mr. Henretta’s health is such that death is imminent. Simply put, the petitioner will not survive to the end of these post-conviction proceedings,” the judge wrote in his order.
Kertyssa Smalls of the Tennessee Office of the Post-Conviction Defender said the judge’s hearing lasted one day.
The judge ruled it would not “be in the interest of justice” for the hearing to be drawn out.
Testimony in the hearing focused on Henretta’s health.
A doctor testifying during the hearing said Henretta had severe liver issues, Hepatitis C, internal bleeding and other health issues
“According to Dr. (Murray) Smith’s report, the petitioner has a history of numerous health issues, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure and both skin and prostate cancer,” the court order replacing the death sentence with life in prison stated.
Smalls had been working through the appeals process with Henretta since April 2011.
A stay of execution was granted in October 2011, keeping Henretta from being executed on Oct. 4, 2011.
The prosecuting attorney in the appeals process has been Joe Baugh.
According to the Tennessee Department of Corrections, Henretta will serve out this life sentence at the Bledsoe Correctional Complex.
Henretta had been Tennessee’s oldest death row inmate at age 70. He was convicted in April 2002 of sexually assaulting and stabbing Crabtree to death.
The murder was part of a crime spree by Henretta and Michael Goodhart starting in Pennsylvania and going throughout the South.