The other day we discussed Richard Henderson Jr. the 20-year-old who confessed to bludgeoning his family to death on Thanksgiving. I had mentioned that in 2001 he was arrested on suspicion of being part of a Columbine-like plot and I asked if anyone has further information on that. Well my readers came through in spades.
First I got an e-mail from some we’ll call T-Rock…
The high school is Lakewood Ranch High School. It is located in Eastern Manatee County, in Bradenton, FL.
The plan in 2001 was to have one kid pull the fire alarms, while the other 3 kids layed in ambush in the courtyard, ready to pick off any students and faculty that were running out of thier classrooms. Luckily to say that never happened.
T-Rock also had some other choice things to say about Henderson but we’ll save that for another time.
Then reader Starviego came through big time with a plethora of news links.
Four teens had an ominous plan in the spring of 2001: Get guns, pull a fire alarm at Lakewood Ranch High School and shoot as many students as possible before killing themselves.
Richard Henderson Jr., now charged with killing four family members, was one of those teens, and he had taken a major step toward making it a reality: He had obtained a handgun and brought it to the school.
The local plan came to light in March 2001 when police found Henderson with a gun at a Manatee McDonald’s restaurant. They arrested him on charges of carrying a concealed weapon and possessing a weapon on school property. There’s no indication Henderson ever fired the gun.
But authorities questioned him and his friends at length. The friends gave versions of the plots that varied slightly but had consistent themes.
The group that included at least one girl talked of their plans in telephone conference calls over a period of a week, the report said. They planned to take muscle relaxers and do one of two things.
In one scenario, they would sit in a circle and shoot each other one by one. The teens all agreed that “life sucks” and that they didn’t like their parents. One girl, the report said, “did not want to grow up to be like her mother, her father or the adults that are around her.”
The other plan, which the teens each denied when confronted by sheriff’s investigators, involved pulling the fire alarm at Lakewood Ranch High and shooting students who had wronged them. The teens said “the rednecks” picked on them and treated them like “freaks” and deserved to be shot, the reports say.
Henderson had written a suicide note and will, and signed it on Feb. 28, 2001. He was caught by police with the loaded handgun on Friday, March 2, 2001.
“She felt that Richard Henderson Jr. was serious about this,” the report quoted one girl as telling authorities. “She also felt he would have done the shooting on Monday morning at school. She felt this because she understands how Richard Henderson Jr.’s mind works. When he sets his mind to something … he would continue to think about it until it became serious. Then he would really do it, and it would become reality.”
What did Henderson get for his troubles? Five years probation…
Though he was 15, Henderson was tried as an adult in the 12th Circuit Court. Records show he was sentenced to five years’ probation.
But, according to the state attorney’s office, Henderson violated his probation when he committed another crime at the age of 19. Henderson, according to court records, was charged with aggravated assault and violation of an injunction after he went to his wife’s home in Bradenton on Dec. 5, 2004. There, he threatened to cut her throat if she didn’t go into the house with him. His wife was not injured, but Henderson cut his left wrist with a steak knife, according to the warrant.
What did he get for that? Only four months behind bars…
Henderson pleaded guilty to assault in the incident, said Dawn Buff, a prosecutor who worked on the case.
A judge allowed Henderson credit for time served for the assault and violation of probation charges, Buff said. He had spent four months in jail by then.
But that’s not all…
Earlier, on May 5, 2004, Henderson was accused of domestic battery and aggravated assault charges. But the charges were dropped on Oct. 12, 2004, court records show.
“The reason we didn’t proceed with that is because the victim reported the incident very late,” Buff said.
And it seems like that this kind of behavior is nothing new…
“Even when he was a kid, he’d grab animals out here and rip their legs off and just laugh about it. So he was kind of troubled in the first place,” Henderson’s uncle, Jeffrey Stringer, said.
So it should be no surprise to anyone that this psychopath murdered his family on Thanksgiving and slept next to his dead mother in her bed that night.
So after all the crimes that Henderson committed why was he allowed to walk the streets? Do any of the judges that previously sentenced Henderson have any regrets? They should.