Mother And Son Sentenced To Life In Prison For Murder
David Henderson, a mechanic from Colorado, told authorities everything he knew about the August 2016 robbery of a Denver marijuana shop, information he was privy to from working on a car for the suspect’s mother.
Henderson’s information–which, according to The Washington Post, included details of guns and drugs at the motel where Tina and Terance Black lived–is what led to the arrest of Terance Black on September 23, 2016. He also supplied detectives with photos of gloves and masks he spotted inside Tina’s car as she drove him home that day.
Following this, a clerical error supplied Terance Black with both Henderson’s name and personal information, according to reports from the Post.
Not even a month after Terance Black’s arrest, Henderson was found dead. According to The Denver Post, 48-year-old Henderson was shot 10 times by two separate weapons Oct. 12, 2016.
Terance Black and his mother, Tina Black, were sentenced on Thursday to life without the chance of parole for Henderson’s murder. While addressing the court during the sentencing, Tina said she does not condone “black-on-black crime” and denied her family’s involvement in Henderson’s killing.
A third defendant in the murder case is still awaiting trial.
George Brauchler, district attorney for Arapahoe County, explained his feelings on the outcome, saying, “This is the nightmare scenario, where sensitive information is accidentally sent to absolutely the wrong people,” he told The Washington Post. “You had a good man who was trying to do the right thing.”
According to the victim’s sister, Karen Henderson-Atkins, she had never seen her brother so scared in his life; He was trying to come up with the cash to flee to Florida when he was killed.
Brauchler explained to The Washington Post that the fatal mistake in this robbery case was surprisingly simple: The Colorado statewide court software system’s default setting was to send criminal complaints and affidavits to all parties in a case, which includes defendants and witnesses. When they wanted to keep those documents from certain parties, someone had to manually “uncheck” a box in the system.
The box in Terance Black’s robbery case was left checked, causing the defendant to receive documents that detailed Henderson’s cooperation with authorities, the newspaper said.
The documents’ release caused fear for other witnesses and a cooperating co-defendant, The Denver Post reported. At least one witness fled the state and others were given added protection.
The Denver Post also reported that the Henderson case is not the only one in which documents were released to the wrong people. In one robbery case in Arapahoe County, the suspect knew investigators were coming for him because he received the court documents in the mail prior to his arrest.
In a child sex abuse case, two defendants were able to flee the country because the court documents tipped them off, the newspaper reported.
Brauchler told the paper at least 100 Arapahoe County cases have been affected by these mistakes.