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Ohio Reschedules Execution of Jerome Henderson from September 14, 2023, to October 21, 2026

Jerome Henderson, Ohio

Updated: Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Jerome HendersonOhio planned to execute Jerome Henderson on Thursday, September 14, 2023, at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Mansfield, Ohio. His execution is rescheduled to October 21, 2026, at the request of the governor. Sixty-four-year-old Jerome is convicted of murdering his 26-year-old neighbor, Mary Acoff, on March 3, 1985, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Jerome has spent the last 37 years of his life on Ohio’s death row.

Late on the night of March 2, 1985, Mary Acoff went to visit her boyfriend. They engaged in sexual relations before she returned to her apartment around midnight. Around 4:50 am on March 3, Mary’s downstairs neighbor heard a disturbance from Mary’s apartment. About the time the neighbor left for work, he heard someone leaving the apartment complex. Jerome Henderson was placed at the apartment building by a friend and another person between 5:30 and 6:00 am.

On the afternoon of March 3, Mary’s body was discovered by her daughter and neighbor. The front door to the apartment was not latched and the kitchen window was unlocked. Police found fingerprints, mud, and bloodstains in the apartment. Mary had been killed by multiple stab wounds. Evidence also suggested that she had been raped.

After police learned that Henderson had been in the area, he was brought in for questioning. Henderson denied being in the area of Mary’s apartment. After a fingerprint lifted from the crime scene was determined to be a match for Henderson, police arrested him. Police also obtained a search warrant, where they recovered his shoes, clothes witnesses saw him wearing, and a knife. Several of the clothing items had blood on them. Other DNA evidence was also present, however, testing at the time was limited.

Henderson was charged with burglary, rape, and aggravated murder. He pled not guilty. A jury, however, found him guilty of burglary and aggravated murder. They also found him guilty of attempted rape. In recent years, Henderson has sought additional DNA testing, as testing was not as advanced at his initial trial. Some additional testing has been carried out.

Jerome Henderson’s execution has been rescheduled from Thursday, September 14, 2023, to October 21, 2026, at the request of Governor Mike DeWine, who has cited challenges to obtaining execution drugs. For the past several years, Ohio has struggled to obtain execution drugs, arguing that doing so would adversely affect the residents of the state. Ohio has also struggled to establish an execution protocol. More information regarding Ohio’s execution problems can be found here

Pray for the family of Mary Acoff.  Please pray for strength for the family of Jerome Henderson.  Please pray that if Jerome is innocent, lacks the competency to be executed, or should not be executed for any other reason, that evidence will be presented before his execution.  Pray that Jerome finds peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

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