Henretta given Oct. 4, 2011, execution date in Crabtree slaying
by By GREG KAYLOR Banner Staff Writer
Oct 10, 2010 | 3702 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
One of Cleveland’s most notorious crimes could come to a end in 2011.

John Patrick Henretta, Tennessee’s oldest death row inmate, is scheduled to die Oct. 4, 2011.

Henretta was 59 when he was convicted in April 2002 in the slaying of Frances Rose Crabtree, a Salvation Army Thrift Store employee in Cleveland.

It was shortly after 6 p.m. on April 2002, when Bradley County jurors made a decision to put Henretta to death for his crime here.

Henretta and Michael Goodhart traveled into Cleveland on Nov. 30, 1988, and committed one of the city’s most heinous crimes, sexually assaulting and stabbing Crabtree in the neck three times.

They had been down the street at Five Points drinking beer in a bar, waiting for the Salvation Army Thrift Store to close.

The pair entered through the rear as Crabtree was closing for the day. They attacked her, robbed and eventually took her life.

It was proven in Henretta’s trial that he was the one who sexually assault her.

Forensic DNA expert Alan Guisti testified to the fact, which was corroborated by Goodhart’s statement that he had not sexually assaulted her.

DNA proved it.

Agents with the FBI sat in the hallway of the Bradley County Courthouse as the trial progressed.

The case, which went cold, again became heated when Goodhart told someone of the murder in Cleveland of a Salvation Army worker.

Goodhart died in a Balstrop, Texas, prison.

Henretta was in federal custody at Leavenworth, Kan. Lt. Danny Chastain (now retired) of the Cleveland Police Department traveled to Kansas and interviewed Henretta about the murder.

TBI’s Brooks Wilkins also went to Kansas for the interview.

Henretta and Goodhart began their criminal journey through the South after leaving Pennsylvania.

Multiple homicides, assaults, robberies, thefts and arsons were reportedly committed by the two men along their journey, according to officials.

Former Bradley County Sheriff Dan Gilley said, “Henretta is one of the most dangerous serial murderers to have ever been housed in the Bradley County Justice Center. Henretta had two prior convictions for murder along with a very extensive criminal background.”

Henretta was a prisoner of the state of Pennsylvania, already serving life for murder and rape, according to his attorney Charles Currier.

Currier told jurors that during the trial in hopes of avoiding a death penalty decision.

Bradley County indicted Henretta on Aug. 20, 1997.

He was charged with premeditated felony murder in the perpetration of robbery, two counts of aggravated robbery, two counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated kidnapping, accoridng to documents.

Henretta was allowed to give a statement following the sentencing.

In a statement to the family, “I’m sorry for what I have done. I will take responsibility for my actions. I am not the same man I was in 1988. I am ready to meet my Maker and He will have final judgment.”

Henretta thanked the defense team who had fought for his life during the trial.

But in late 2005, requests for a retrial began which were eventually denied by the court.

Henretta’s case fell under an old guideline in which he can choose either the electric chair or death by lethal injection, according to previous Banner reports, but officials with the local system were unclear if the statute was the same and may have undergone amendment.

Then judge, now head prosecutor in the 10th District, Steve Bebb read Henretta’s death sentence.

It is not known under the statute which method of death Henretta will choose or if further appellate appeals will be rendered to the courts.