Dalton Woman To Serve At Least 30 Years For Murder Of Her Father

Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Hannah Henderson
Hannah Henderson

A 26-year-old Dalton woman was sentenced on Tuesday to life in prison for the murder of her father.

 

Hannah Celese Henderson entered a guilty plea before Superior Court Judge Jim Wilbanks in the slaying of George Henderson, on the evening of Oct. 13, 2018.  Ms. Henderson pled guilty to felony murder predicated on family violence aggravated assault. 

 

District Attorney Bert Poston said, "Felony murder exists when a person is killed as a result of an intentional violent felony, regardless of whether the defendant intended specifically to cause the death.  The aggravated assault charge merged into the murder charge for sentencing purposes."

 

He said Ms.

Henderson will have to serve 30 years from the date of her arrest on Oct. 14, 2018 before becoming eligible for parole. 

 

She was represented by Natalie Glaser, head of the Public Defender’s Office for Whitfield and Murray Counties. 

 

DA Poston said, "The case was investigated by Detective Dwayne Holmes of the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office and received significant media attention because of claims that Ms. Henderson made on a recorded 911 telephone call that she had shot her father after walking into his bedroom and catching him touching her one-year-old son’s penis. 

 

"Recorded 911 calls are generally released upon request even as they relate to ongoing investigations and can give false impression about a case before the rest of the investigative details become public.  Detective Holmes investigation revealed that the allegation was most likely false although it becomes very difficult if not impossible to prove a negative – that is to prove that something did not happen. 

 

"Investigators and prosecutors working on the case did not believe the allegations for a variety of reasons.  The shooting took place on the other end of the house, nowhere near the bedroom where the touching was alleged to have occurred and the shooting occurred a good bit later in the evening than the alleged touching. 

 

"During the investigation, the Defendant admitted that she had accused her father of molesting her son two days earlier without evidence and based on nothing more than a feeling.  As she was questioned about what led up to the shooting, her version of events shifted towards self-defense and away from provocation as initially alleged.

 

"At her guilty plea, Ms. Henderson retracted the allegation, stating to Judge Wilbanks that 'it was a lie then and it is a lie now.' Ms. Henderson expressed remorse for her actions and stated that her father never did anything like that or anything at all to deserve what she did to him.

 

"Detective Holmes’ investigation further revealed that George Henderson was shot twice in the head and that the Defendant was standing behind her father both times.  The first shot was to the back of the head near the base of the skull and was a contact wound.  That is, the muzzle of the weapon, a Ruger LCP .380 caliber pistol, was directly touching the victim’s skin when the defendant pulled the trigger.  The first shot passed below the victim’s skull and the bullet exited through his left cheek bone.  Mr. Henderson was standing in the hallway facing towards the kitchen when shot and fell to the ground where a good bit of blood pooled before he was able to move again.  The bullet was recovered near the doorway between the kitchen and living room.

 

"Somehow he managed to get into the kitchen and was standing at or leaning on the kitchen table when the Defendant shot him a second time.  The Defendant again stood behind her father and this time reached around with her right hand and shot her father in the right temple area.  The second shot was near contact, meaning that the muzzle of the gun was approximately 1-3 inches away from the victim’s temple when the trigger was pulled.  The second shot went through the front part of George Henderson’s brain, killing him instantly.  The bullet was recovered at autopsy. 

 

"At sentencing, Ms. Henderson did not offer an explanation for why she had shot her father but stated that she was an addict and not a monster and that she understood the pain that she had caused to so many people and was sorry for what she had done. 

 

"Ms. Henderson had a history of substance abuse problems although no significant criminal history.  Her father had allowed her and her son to move in with him and was trying to help her when he died.  In addition to providing her a place to live, he had provided her with a car and with a food truck so that she could earn an income.  As part of the negotiated plea agreement, Ms. Henderson agreed to execute two legal documents.  One to surrender her parental rights so that a member of the family could adopt her son and the second to waive any right she might have to inherit from her father’s estate.  Georgia law would have prohibited such inheritance and her sentence will keep her in custody  until her son is an adult but it is hoped that the legal documents will make it easier and faster to settle the estate and complete the adoption."


Alexander Votes To Confirm Cliff Corker As U.S. District Judge For Eastern District Of Tennessee

Mac Evans, 56, Dies From Injuries Sustained In Accident On July 11

Latest Bradley County Arrest Report


Senator Lamar Alexander on Thursday released the following statement on his vote to confirm Tennessean Cliff Corker as a U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee: “Cliff ... (click for more)

Mac Evans, 56, has died from injuries he sustained in an accident on July 11. At approximately 2:31 p.m. on July 11, the Chattanooga Police Traffic Unit responded to 6510 Bonny Oaks Drive ... (click for more)

Click here for the latest Bradley County arrest report. (click for more)


Breaking News

Alexander Votes To Confirm Cliff Corker As U.S. District Judge For Eastern District Of Tennessee

Senator Lamar Alexander on Thursday released the following statement on his vote to confirm Tennessean Cliff Corker as a U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee: “Cliff Corker currently serves as a United States Magistrate Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. He was selected to serve as a magistrate judge by the District ... (click for more)

Mac Evans, 56, Dies From Injuries Sustained In Accident On July 11

Mac Evans, 56, has died from injuries he sustained in an accident on July 11. At approximately 2:31 p.m. on July 11, the Chattanooga Police Traffic Unit responded to 6510 Bonny Oaks Drive on a serious traffic crash. Mr. Evans who was driving a Ford Explorer was traveling west on Bonny Oaks Drive. David Fields, 59, was in a Ford F-350 traveling east on Bonny Oaks Drive. ... (click for more)

Opinion

Opinion Correction: Erlanger Does Not Offer $20,000 Nurse Signing Bonuses

An opinion in Chattanoogan.com on Monday said Erlanger Health Systems had $20,000 nurse signing bonuses. Erlanger officials said that is another local hospital - not Erlanger. Columnist Roy Exum said, "In a story that I wrote on July 15, “A Nursing Shortage?” I mistakenly identified Erlanger Hospital as one hospital that offers prospective nurses a $20,000 signing bonus. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Use 'Tags' At Erlanger

When I was a senior in high school, the Vietnam catastrophe held the guys who were in my class spellbound. Back then, and has since been proven again and again, the conflict was a terrible error in our nation’s judgment and almost 60,000 young and promising Americans died in some stinking South Asian battle zone that didn’t mean squat to our freedom or our nation’s future. In ... (click for more)

Sports

CFC's Season Ends With 2-0 Loss To Miami; However Founder's Cup Starts In August

The Chattanooga Football Club’s rose-colored season was ended Tuesday night in the oppressive Florida heat against Miami FC, with their championship aspirations wilted by the end of the 2-0 shutout. While Miami dominated possession in the first half, Chattanooga briefly took the lead in the 40th minute. After Caleb Cole regained possession, the talented midfielder made a quick ... (click for more)

Red Wolves' Amponsah Named To USL One Team Of The Week

Chattanooga Red Wolves SC defender Nicholas Amponsah has been named to the USL League One Team of the Week for Week 16 of the league’s inaugural 2019 season. Amponsah scored the game-tying goal for the Red Wolves against Madison in addition to completing 45 of 54 passes, recording five tackles and winning 10 of 13 duels Saturday night. Amponsah leveled the match in the ... (click for more)