The last time anyone saw 18 years old Julie Heath alive was when she left her home in Malvern, Arkansas, to visit her boyfriend in Hot Springs on October 11, 1993. A few days later, on October 18, her body was found in the woods, some seven miles from where her car had been abandoned. The medical examiner detected the probable cause of her death to be trauma to the head. The impact of Heath’s death on her very close-knit family was devastating. Meanwhile, a man called Eric Nance was convicted for her murder.
Investigation Discovery’s ‘Murder Comes To Town’ delves deep into the Heath murder case to bring out the most excruciating details of the horrific crime through realistic reenactments of major events. The series, which focuses on homicides from small towns across the country, features Heath’s murder in a 42-minute long episode titled ‘Something’s Not Right.’ Watching the episode, the horrific nature of the crime made us curious to know more about the criminal. Let’s find out what we can about Eric Nance.
Who Is Eric Nance?
Eric Randall Nance was convicted of Julie Heath’s murder, which transpired on October 11, 1993, in the state of Arkansas. Julie, born in 1975, was a cheerleader in her high school and worked part-time at Taco Bell and a blue jean factory. On that fateful day, she was last seen when she left in her 1957 black Mustang to visit with her boyfriend in Hot Springs.
Her car broke down in the middle of the road. By his own accounts, she was offered a ride back to Malvern by Nance, who was driving his pick-up from Hot Springs to Malvern. The events that took place immediately thereafter have not been drafted. Nance had initially been wearing a shirt, bib-overalls, and shoes. However, he was seen in a convenience store later, with no shoes, socks, or shirt and with fresh dark and damp stains on his overalls.
Julie Heath’s body was discovered on October 18, 1993, in a wooded area, a few miles from where her broken-down car had been parked. Her neck had been slashed with a box-cutter. The autopsy of Heath’s body did not reveal any substantial results. Whatever little information could be retrieved came from the medical examiner.
It is believed that the cause of death was possible blunt trauma to the head. He further mentioned that some of the clothes that Heath was found dressed in were inside out. The implicating evidence, however, was found from Nance’s truck, which included strands of red pubic hair that microscopically matched to the ones found on Heath’s body, according to an expert. Nance was hence arrested and then convicted of Julie Heath’s murder.
Is Eric Nance Still Alive?
Eric Nance was sentenced to death and executed on November 28, 2005, by lethal injection. His execution was delayed by last-minute deliberations, which included four appeals. All appeals were rejected, and Nance was executed and pronounced dead at 9:24 p.m. CST. It is notable that before the 1993 murder, Nance had been convicted for beating two Oklahoma girls in 1982.
During his murder trial, Nance’s lawyers argued that he was mentally unstable. Additionally, Nance claimed that he had killed Heath by accident with his new box cutter. Neither the defense’s statements nor Nance’s claims could protect him from the death sentence, which was recommended by the Arkansas Parole Board with a vote of 6-1. While on death row, Nance obtained a certificate equivalent to a high school degree and penned several poems, one of which was recorded by the Celtic Tenors.
Read More: Julie Heath’s Murder: How Did She Die? Who Killed Her?