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Murder charges entered against Henderson

Oct. 1 trial date remains in place

HENNEPIN — Putnam County State’s Attorney Christina Judd-Mennie has added three counts of murder to the charges against Richard Henderson of Standard.

Henderson, 26, is the suspect whom investigators believe killed 16-year-old Diamond Bradley, of Spring Valley, and left her body along a rural Putnam County road more than seven months ago.

Bradley was last seen on Jan. 23, and reported missing the following morning. Her body, stabbed multiple times, was found Jan. 27, and Henderson was taken into custody on Feb. 5.

Putnam County Sheriff Kevin Doyle has said Henderson was arrested after being interviewed at the police station following tips, interviews, surveillance cameras, and pings from Bradley’s cellphone that link him to her death.

Henderson was initially charged with the Class 3 felony of concealment of a homicidal death and was being held on a $1 million bond.

The three additional felony murder charges will each carry additional and concurrent $1 million bonds with 10 percent to apply. Henderson has entered pleas of not guilty on all counts.

The charges were entered during a motions hearing Thursday afternoon in Putnam County Court presided over by Judge Stephen A. Kouri. Defense attorney Roger Bolin previously entered a motion to dismiss the concealment charges based on the Speedy Trial Act.

He has argued the state has exceeded the 120-day limit of the Speedy Trial Act, and Putnam County State’s Attorney Christina Judd-Mennie has argued the past three continuances were agreed upon by both sides at previous hearings and that by doing so, the 120-day count would have stopped during those periods.

Illinois Assistant Attorney General Bill Elward said Bolin’s arguments were “specious” and a moot point because of the superseding indictments now facing Henderson.

Kouri said the Speedy Trial act was “not to be used as a trap,” and while he agreed to recalculate the days in question, he also told Bolin to “assume you’re going to lose this motion.”

Bolin also questioned the composition of the grand jury and the competence of the evidence presented to the grand jury, saying the indictment was defective. Kouri denied this motion and added a supplement to court records after accepting a sworn statement from the foreman of the grand jury in regard to the number of jurors present.

A brief recess was allowed for the attorneys to discuss whether they wished to have one or two trials. Both sides agreed all charges would be tried at once, and the original Oct. 1 trial date would remain in place for the time being, although a continuance agreed upon by both sides could result in a later trial date.

If they had agreed to hold two trials, the 120-day limit would have required the murder charges to be tried by the end of December.

Illinois Assistant Attorney General Mary Claire Nicholson announced the state will be seeking an enhanced sentence for Henderson if he is convicted of the murder charges because of the crime’s “brutal and heinous nature.”

If convicted, Henderson could face a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole.

A status hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sept. 13. Kouri requested the attorneys meet with him on Sept. 6 to let him know whether they anticipated a continuance. If not, this would allow time for jury notifications to be issued in time for the Oct. 1 trial.

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