Juror excused from Christopher Henderson capital murder trial on first day of testimony

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – One of the 12 main jurors in the Christopher Henderson capital murder trial was excused from serving Thursday morning.

The juror said they failed to disclose a medical diagnosis during juror interviews last week and can’t handle the gruesome details of the case.

Judge Chris Comer called an alternate juror, noting the swap put the prosecution and defense in a bind right before opening arguments were set to start Thursday morning.

Henderson is charged with killing five people, including two children and his pregnant wife in August 2015, before setting the family’s Madison County house on fire.

The victims were his wife, Kristin Smallwood Henderson, who was nine months pregnant; her unborn child; her mother, Carol Jean Smallwood; her 8-year-old son, Clayton Chambers; and her 1-year-old nephew, Eli Sokolowski.

During the trial, the jury saw surveillance video at the home of Kristin Smallwood’s mother, where the murders happened. The system was installed just a week before the killings by Smallwood’s brother, Keith Smallwood. Keith Smallwood testified that Kristen asked Christopher Henderson, who had also living in the home, to leave in June 2015.

The jury saw video from that surveillance system on the day of the murders. The video from the system had been uploaded to a cloud service.

On the day of the murders, video showed Kristen Smallwood and her son, Clayton Chambers, return to he house. Video also showed Henderson and Rhonda Carlson — Henderson’s other wife — outside the house with gloves on. Eventually the images on the cameras were covered with smoke as the house burned.

The trial is scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. Friday.

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