Christopher Henderson was sentenced to death in Alabama after being convicted of the murders of five people. According to court documents Christopher Henderson would murder Kristen Smallwood Henderson, her unborn child, her mother and two children on Aug. 4, 2015. Christopher Henderson who had multiple wives would be convicted of the murders back in July 2021 and sentenced to death in October 2021
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|Inmate:||HENDERSON, CHRISTOPHER MATTHE|
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Madison County judge sentenced a bigamist found guilty in July on 15 capital murder charges to death this morning.
WHNT is reporting Madison County Circuit Court Judge Chris Comer sentenced Christopher Henderson, 46, Thursday morning.
According to WAFF, Henderson addressed the court before the sentence was read. “First of all, I’d like to give my deepest apologies,” Henderson said. “This is an event that should have never happened.” He went on to apologize to his mother and daughter, said he had been sick for a month with COVID-19, and called the death penalty unconstitutional.
A jury in July voted 11-1 in favor of recommending the death penalty on all charges for Henderson.
Henderson was accused of killing Kristen Smallwood Henderson, her unborn child, her mother and two children on Aug. 4, 2015
Kristin Smallwood Henderson, 35, was nine months pregnant with Henderson’s child at the time of the killings. Her 8-year-old son, Clayton Daniel Chambers, her mother, Jean Smallwood, 67, and her 1-year-old nephew, Eli Sokolowski, were also killed. The bodies were inside a New Market house engulfed in flames when authorities arrived.
Christopher Henderson’s first wife, Rhonda Carlson, testified that he planned and carried out the killings.
She said when she brought a gas can to the home, she saw two of the victims and didn’t think anyone was alive in the home. Christopher Henderson then poured the gasoline and lit a fire, she testified. Carlson took a plea deal to avoid a possible death sentence. Her hearing is set for October 27
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Over the summer, Henderson was convicted on more than a dozen capital murder charges for killing his pregnant wife, her mother and two children. On July 6, the same jury recommended the death penalty to the court.
Henderson has been held without bond until today’s hearing where the judge had the opportunity to break from the jury’s recommendation and decide to sentence Henderson to life in prison.
“It’s unspeakable what he did in this case, and he absolutely deserves what’s coming,” says Tim Gann with the Madison County District Attorney’s Office.
Gann says this is the third death penalty handed down in Madison County in the last 11 years. He says the crime was so heinous it will stay with the community forever.
“There’s no way this family is ever going to be made right. This is all we can do on earth to get earthly justice is this penalty. That’s it,” Gann said.
Henderson didn’t act alone, his other wife Rhonda Carlson took a plea deal for her role in the crime.
“Rhonda was very much a part of this from start to finish. She was a part of the planning. She was a part of the operation. But there is no blood on Rhonda’s hands. She did not take a knife and cut a baby out of the womb. That’s not who she is. She’s going to do life without. It’s death by prison for her,” Gann said.
But Defense Attorney Bruce Gardner says Carlson is just as guilty. Gardner asked the judge to also give Henderson life without parole, because the jury was not unanimous.
“Alabama is unique in allowing a vote of 10-2 to take somebody’s life. I personally disdain the death penalty. It’s just a barbaric institution in my view,” Gardner said.
We learned Thursday that Henderson almost lost his life- through COVID-19.
He was in the jail sick for 24 days before he was admitted and finally taking to the hospital. He almost died. And was in ICU for almost two days. One of his cellmates in fact died,” Gardner said.
At 8:40 a.m. on Thursday, the defense filed a motion to prohibit the death penalty since the July recommendation was not anonymous. During the 9 a.m. hearing, the only state witness to address the court was Kelly Smallwood. Smallwood’s son Eli was one of the five victims in 2015. Kelly’s sister was Henderson’s then nine-month pregnant wife Kristen.
“This has affected me in many ways,” said Kelly. “I lost my mother and my best friend. She was the one I could talk to about anything. I lost my sister Kristen. She loved especially when it came to her son and her unborn daughter Lauren.”
Kelly said if Kristen loved you, “you were loved fiercely.”
“Eli was my whole heart. I had to find a new way to get through each day without him. I never got to hear him say mommy or have his first day of school – graduate, get married, or take care of me when I get old.”
Kelly ended her address by saying she has lost the fear of death.
“I know where my family is…I know I will be reunited with my family and what a glorious day that will be.”