Death Row Inmate Receives Purple Heart

N.C. death row inmate receives medals earned in Vietnam

James Floyd Davis would never know freedom again.

Now 62 years old, slightly stooped with thick reading glasses and pasty skin, he looks far removed from the wild-eyed loner who snapped in a violent, bloody spree 14 years ago.

And he looks far removed from the tanned, wiry young man who traded an abusive home life for two tours in the jungles of Vietnam – and a chunk of shrapnel that still throbs in his thigh when the weather turns cold.

All of that past, all of that horror and hurt, stared through thick reading glasses at Jim Johnson as the retired Fayetteville therapist tried to discover who James Davis was.

Johnson, however, wasn’t there because Davis was disturbed. He was there because Davis, like Johnson, was a soldier. Both had served in Vietnam during the maelstrom of the Tet Offensive.


The men also shared post-traumatic stress disorder, the result of battle stress during the war. Johnson, though eventually a lieutenant colonel and a successful therapist, struggled with its effects for decades. His condition gave him a unique perspective as a family and marriage counselor at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church.

The effects of PTSD on the already-fragile psyche of Davis were far more damaging. Although he reached the rank of sergeant, “He said the war just wore him out,” Johnson said.


The Army was happy to send the medals. The prison was less enthusiastic about letting him receive them.

“They said no, like we expected,” Rose said. “It was something that was just too unusual. It would take intervention by someone higher up the ladder.”

Johnson found that someone in James French, a former warden of Central Prison and now deputy director of the state’s correction system.

He also was a Vietnam veteran. He was wounded during the war and received a Purple Heart. Would he be willing to allow a fellow veteran the same honor?

French thought about it and agreed……………Read Rest Here

To both of our brothers, Thank You Jim for fighting for the well deserved recognition long overdue for Jim Davis, not only as to the Purple Heart but his other ignored medals and ribbons of service.

If the Country would have listened he may have gotten the Help Needed, after his two tours, to cope with the experiences of Wars of Choice and even his Childhood!

They didn’t then nor for these next four decades until we were finally able to push the results of Wars of Choice, especially, into the mainstream conscious, Lessons Not Learned, as we waged two more long running occupations and many returning soldiers are fighting the demons of war and occupations. Once again the country is playing catchup, more Lessons Not Learned!

Army Times

Death row inmate gets Purple Heart from Vietnam

Guards took the shackles off death row prisoner James Davis and led him into a small room to get the Army medals he earned more than 40 years ago.

The North Carolina inmate slouched over as retired therapist Jim Johnson picked up the Purple Heart and the Good Conduct medals Davis earned in Vietnam, but never received.

But Johnson recalled that as he prepared to pin the medals on the triple-murderer from Asheville, Davis snapped to attention, hands cupped to the side. Johnson stepped back, and the two Tet Offensive veterans looked at each other. Davis then gave a textbook-sharp salute, Johnson said…………..


  1. and to fight for Davis’ recognition.

    Sometimes I think the ones that didn’t come back are the lucky ones.

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