Triple homicide case indicted by grand jury last month

Becky Campbell • Dec 15, 2015 at 7:09 PM

A Jonesborough man accused of killing three family members then taking off for New Orleans has been indicted by a Washington County grand jury, but his case also remains active in a lower court.

Daniel L. Henry, 38, remains held without bond for the shooting deaths of his parents, Robert Kenneth Henry, 66, and Melody Diane Henry, 55, and his aunt, Barbara June Hammonds, 64. The three were killed in the Henry home at 123 Skyline Road in Jonesborough sometime between midnight Oct. 1 and midnight Oct. 2.

A grand jury returned a presentment in the case charging Henry with three counts of first-degree murder and three alternate counts of felony murder. Felony murder is first-degree murder that occurs during the commission of another felony. In this case, the other felony was theft, according to the indictment.

The three bodies were found in the early morning hours of Oct. 3 after 911 received a call from a dispatch center in California requesting a check welfare at the residence.

The California dispatcher reported to local authorities that a woman there had called and said Henry called her to say he’d killed his family.

Henry was charged with three counts of first-degree murder and captured in New Orleans on Oct. 3, the same day the bodies were discovered. He was returned to Jonesborough two weeks later after waiving extradition to Tennessee. Henry was ordered held without bond and appointed a public defender in his arraignment in Sessions Court on Oct. 22. On that day, a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Oct. 29, but it has been reset two more times since then. It was rescheduled from the October date to Nov. 12, then to Dec. 15 and now it’s scheduled for Jan. 12.

The rescheduling was needed because of difficulty in getting a witness from New Orleans to Tennessee for the hearing. In a motion to continue the preliminary hearing filed Dec. 1, District Attorney General Tony Clark stated that Sgt. Chad LaCoste, an officer with the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigation, is needed for the preliminary hearing. Apparently, LaCoste is the officer who took a video and written statement from Henry. His testimony is needed for the case, but his department requires a request for travel to be approved and there was not time to get that completed by the most recent setting.

After the November setting, the District Attorney General’s Office decided to take the case to a grand jury even though the defense still wants the preliminary hearing they are entitled to have. What’s likely to happen is even if the case is bound over after a preliminary hearing, the initial case would be dismissed with the superseding indictment already in place, Assistant District Attorney General Erin McArdle said.

A grand jury heard evidence and returned a presentment in the case Nov. 5, and it was served on Henry Nov. 11 in the Washington County Detention Center.

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