HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The second day of testimony in the Christopher Henderson murder trial featured autopsy reports, a look at cell data and testimony from Henderson’s first wife.
Friday, the jury and those watching heard and saw graphic materials. To date, 2 jurors have been excused due to personal or family health reasons. Leaving 12 jurors and 4 alternates as of this moment.
CONTENT WARNING: SOME OF WHAT IS BELOW MAY BE CONSIDERED GRAPHIC OR UNPLEASANT TO PROCESS.
Rhonda Carlson, Christopher Henderson’s first wife, testified she and Henderson first attempted to kill the Smallwood family days before the actual murders took place. They tried to do it at night but failed.
The victims included Henderson’s 2nd wife, Kristen Smallwood, her unborn child, her 8-year-old son, her mother and her 1-year-old nephew. The unborn baby girl was Henderson’s.
Carlson says they decided to commit the crimes when Kristen Smallwood’s father wasn’t home. She testified that Henderson had a personal grudge against Kristen’s father and after initially wanting to kill him, Henderson opted to kill the father’s loved ones.
Carlson said on the stand, “He wanted to make her (Kristen’s) father suffer.”
Carlson said the plan was to drop Henderson off at the home and he was going to call when the murders were done. However, Henderson forgot his cell phone when Carlson left to get a gas canister. Carlson testified she brought a gas can back to the home, but couldn’t get in. This appears to be the case as seen from a home security system. Carlson then says she went to the front door where she saw Henderson standing near one of the victims. Carlson says she saw another victim in the kitchen and didn’t believe anyone else was alive in the house.
Carlson has not said she took part in the act of killing outside of planning, handling and buying materials. Carlson claims Henderson stood in the house for some time before pouring the gas and lighting it with a lighter.
Henderson did not show any obvious emotion as Carlson unloaded her story to the jury.
Carlson said they went to Ditto Landing after the killings to burn Henderson’s bloody clothes. They were arrested a short time later.
Prior to Carlson taking the stand, the jury heard from investigators about digital evidence from two of three phones collected. Lock-picking videos were shared with the jury along with a shooting range video. The videos appear to be from the internet. Carlson recognized the videos, saying Henderson shared them with her…
Before everything you just read, when the day started, the jury heard from Dr. Steven Dunton who explained both Kristen Smallwood and her mother Jean were shot and stabbed in and around the head. Dr. Dunton was asked to mark wounds on diagrams for jurors.
WARNING: VERY GRAPHIC SENTENCE AHEAD.
Smallwood was 9-months pregnant. Her baby was removed and also sustained stab wounds. Smallwood’s 8-year-old son, Clayton Chambers, was stabbed multiple times. Her 1-year-old nephew was also stabbed several times. The 1-year-old is believed to of died from carbon monoxide poisoning from when the house was set on fire. Dr. Dunton says there is no way to tell if the infant was conscious when the fire overtook the house and the victims.
Based on the lung conditions of most of the victims, Dr. Dunton testified that all but one were not breathing before the home was set on fire.
On Thursday the jury saw the last living video of Chambers and his mother entering the home. Followed shortly by a video of Carlson and Henderson going in and out. Friday, the jury saw what tragically befell them.
The trial is set to resume Monday, with the prosecution still walking through the crime with Carlson.
Henderson’s defense, which has avoided cross cross-examination is expected to cross-examine Carlson Monday.
The defense said during the first day of testimony Carlson was the mastermind of the killings.