To family and friends, he is a decent man who loves to quote scripture and would "give you the shirt off his back."
To others, Hunt is a mean-spirited killer, convicted of two murders but suspected in several others.
Both images have been on display as Jan. 24 nears, the day the state plans to put the 58-year-old Robeson County to death for the 1984 murders of Jackie Ransom and Larry Jones.
Hunt, also known as "Mulehead," would be the second Robeson County resident executed in the state since the death penalty was reinstated in 1977 by the U.S. Supreme Court. Velma Barfield, a Parkton woman who was executed on Nov. 2, 1984, was the other. The last men to be executed in Robeson County were Lelander Jacobs and Hector Chavis, both on Dec. 30, 1949.
Hunt's sister, Annie Wassil, says her brother is not capable of killing anyone. She describes his 1985 conviction as a "joke." She says the case against him has always been weak and that prosecutors manipulated facts to make a jury believe Hunt was guilty. She said Hunt passed two lie-detector tests last year.
"They railroaded my brother," Wassil said. "They found him guilty before he even stepped into that courtroom."
Hunt also maintains his innocence. At the time of the first murder, Hunt said, he was with his girlfriend, drinking beer and relaxing after a hard week of work as a roofer.
In a recent interview, Hunt told The Associated Press that he didn't receive a fair trial. "I haven't had a chance to prove my innocence."
The oldest boy in a family of 14 children, Hunt says he became a Christian while in prison. He says that he now reads the Bible from cover to cover each year and that his favorite book is Psalms.
"I know I'm going to heaven," he told The Associated Press. "The Bible tells me so."
Garth Locklear, the chief investigator for the Robeson County Sheriff's Office at the time of Hunt's conviction, says he knows a darker, more sinister Henry Lee Hunt. Locklear said the man he spent more than a year collecting evidence against -- including a .25-caliber pistol used in both killings and a statement from a woman whom Hunt told about the killings -- was one of the most dangerous men in Robeson County.
"It is pretty clear that Henry Lee Hunt had a big hand in both those murders and probably several others," Locklear said.
According to Locklear, Hunt and Elwell Barnes were paid $2,000 each to kill Ransom. Ransom's wife, Dorothy Locklear, had illegally married Rogers Locklear. They hoped to collect on a $25,000 life insurance policy and to make their marriage legal. Ransom's body was found on Sept. 9, 1984, in woods off Elm Street. He was shot in the head, Garth Locklear said.
Hunt and Barnes also killed Jones, a police informant, six days later because he was talking to police about Ransom's death, Garth Locklear said.
"They had picked him up in their car and driven him out to some woods," he said.
Jones' body was found in a shallow grave near Fairmont. He had been shot several times.
Four other people were sentenced to prison for participation in the killings. Dorothy Locklear and Rogers Locklear each served less than five years for conspiracy to commit murder.
A.R. Barnes, who the state said recruited Hunt to help with the killing, served less than eight years. Elwell Barnes, who was sentenced to death for one murder, died in prison of natural causes on Sept. 19, 1991.
Garth Locklear says he believes Hunt is responsible for several unsolved murders in the county. He said he was investigating Hunt's involvement in the murder of Horace Kinlaw, a Lumberton bootlegger, when he learned about the killings of Jones and Ransom. It is widely believed that Hunt was also involved in the murder of Ken Fountain, a Lumberton businessman who disappeared in the early 1980s and was never found.
Locklear said that one witness told him Hunt had said that killing people had become so routine that it didn't bother him and that he liked "the smell of the blood."
Before he was convicted of the murders, Hunt was involved in several armed robberies and had spent time in prison on drug charges and for blowing up the home of his mother's boyfriend.
"He had a pretty tough reputation," Garth Locklear said. "People were absolutely terrified of him. I spoke with one man who began crying when I mentioned his name. He told me that if Hunt even knew we had talked, he would kill him. That was the kind of fear people had."
Leroy Freeman of Fairmont, who knew both Hunt and Jones, agreed.
"Henry Lee Hunt was a mean, mean man," Freeman said. "He was capable of anything."
Wassil discounts such talk. She said her brother has become a convenient culprit, with county law enforcement officials pinning murders on him that they were unable to solve.
"After he was sent to prison, they tried to pin everything on him," Wassil said. "He's done some things he shouldn't have, but not all these murders. And anyone who says people are afraid of him are liars from hell."
Lawyers for Hunt and the state were in court last week trying to determine which image of Hunt is real. His lawyers also plan to ask Gov. Mike Easley on Tuesday to grant clemency.
Hunt's defense team asked the court on Friday to look at whether the state's short-form indictment adequately laid out enough facts to fairly help the defense, but that effort failed. The state Supreme Court has consistently ruled that the indictment is legal. But the U.S. Supreme Court last year said in an Arizona capital case that the indictment, which doesn't list reasons for a murder charge, wasn't sufficient.
Hunt said he was convicted because "the state made deals with people who had charges against them" and that his defense lawyers advised him not to testify.
District Attorney Johnson Britt said Hunt's trial was fair and that Hunt's lawyers have waited until "the final days" to raise these issues. Britt was not the prosecutor in the 1985 trial.
"Where's that evidence been the last 13 years?" he said. "The evidence against him is overwhelming. What this looks like to me is grandstanding as we get closer to the execution date."
Once Hunt has exhausted his appeals, he will be moved to the death watch area of Central Prison, which is adjacent to the execution chamber, according to Central Prison Warden Robey Lee.
Hunt will take all of his personal belongings to one of the four cells in the death watch area. The cells, which are side by side, open into a day room where there is a table, a television and a shower. With the exception of 15 minutes allowed for a shower, Hunt will spend the entire day in the small cell, which includes a bed, lavatory, commode and a wall-mounted writing table.
Hunt will remain in the death watch area until receiving a stay or until escorted to the execution chamber.
On Thursday, Hunt will be allowed visitors all day, beginning at 10 a.m. He will eat lunch at noon. His last meal will be served at 5 p.m. Hunt can continue to see visitors until 11 p.m.
Lee said Hunt can chose any meal he likes, adding that most pick fast food as the final meal.
"At 1 a.m., I will come in and tell the individual to prepare for execution by stripping down to his underwear and socks," Lee said.
Hunt will be escorted by guards 17 steps to a gurney just outside the death chamber. He will be strapped to the gurney and intravenous lines will be placed into both of Hunt's arms. Hunt will be given an opportunity to make has a final statement. If he does, it will be recorded and played for media representatives after the execution.
Hunt will then be injected with sodium thiopental, a barbiturate that will put him into a deep sleep within 30 seconds. Next come pancuronium bromide, a muscle relaxant that stops breathing by paralyzing the lungs.
Hunt will then be moved into the death chamber. An announcement of his death will be made within 25 minutes. His body will be taken to the state Medical Examiner's Office and his family can claim it latter that day.
Wassil and some of Hunt's six children and his ex-wife are expected to attend the 2 a.m. execution. Members of the media and law enforcement and the victim's families are also expected to attend. There may be up to 16 witnesses.
"I made a promise to him years ago that I would be there, and I will," Wassil said.
Jones' mother, Rosie, said she does not plan to witness the execution. She said she has tried to move on.
"It is now between him and judgment," she said. "The family is over that now, and it is in God's hands. That's the way I am going to leave it. We have been through enough."