Death Row Inmate’s Sentence Vacated

Jay Stapleton, News-Journal (Daytona Beach, Florida), January 5, 2010

A local judge vacated the sentence of one of Volusia County’s oldest death penalty cases, finding that Ted Herring’s IQ is too low for him to be executed for killing a convenience store clerk in 1981.

Last month, Circuit Judge Joseph Will signed the order setting aside the death sentence, which had been handed down after Herring’s trial in February 1982.

Circuit Judge S. James Foxman followed a jury’s 8-4 recommendation that Herring be executed for shooting Norman Dale Hoeltzel in the left side of the head with a .22-caliber bullet.

Herring killed the clerk for $23.84 at the 7-Eleven at 705 S. Ridgewood Ave.

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Hoeltzel, 29, was working the nightshift when he was killed. Two men found his body on the floor in the store. In addition to the bullet wound to the head, he also was shot through his left hand and neck.

During the trial, prosecutor Gayle Graziano showed jurors testimony that Herring fired the second shot because Hoeltzel was still alive and he wanted no witnesses. Herring was suspected in several other armed robberies of convenience stores at the time.

In asking for the electric chair, Graziano reminded the jury of testimony that Herring told a parole officer Hoeltzel “got what he deserved for trying to play here; now there’s one less cracker.”

Herring will remain on death row while appeal is pending.

If the order is affirmed, he’ll be sentenced to life in prison. If the state wins its appeal, he could be put to death.

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