More on Richard Henderson Jr.

The other day we discussed Richard Henderson Jr. the 20-year-old who confessed to bludgeoning his family to death on Thanksgiving. I had mentioned that in 2001 he was arrested on suspicion of being part of a Columbine-like plot and I asked if anyone has further information on that. Well my readers came through in spades.

First I got an e-mail from some we’ll call T-Rock…

The high school is Lakewood Ranch High School. It is located in Eastern Manatee County, in Bradenton, FL.

The plan in 2001 was to have one kid pull the fire alarms, while the other 3 kids layed in ambush in the courtyard, ready to pick off any students and faculty that were running out of thier classrooms. Luckily to say that never happened.

T-Rock also had some other choice things to say about Henderson but we’ll save that for another time.

Then reader Starviego came through big time with a plethora of news links.

Suspect named in 2001 plot:

Four teens had an ominous plan in the spring of 2001: Get guns, pull a fire alarm at Lakewood Ranch High School and shoot as many students as possible before killing themselves.

Richard Henderson Jr., now charged with killing four family members, was one of those teens, and he had taken a major step toward making it a reality: He had obtained a handgun and brought it to the school.

The local plan came to light in March 2001 when police found Henderson with a gun at a Manatee McDonald’s restaurant. They arrested him on charges of carrying a concealed weapon and possessing a weapon on school property. There’s no indication Henderson ever fired the gun.

But authorities questioned him and his friends at length. The friends gave versions of the plots that varied slightly but had consistent themes.

The group that included at least one girl talked of their plans in telephone conference calls over a period of a week, the report said. They planned to take muscle relaxers and do one of two things.

In one scenario, they would sit in a circle and shoot each other one by one. The teens all agreed that “life sucks” and that they didn’t like their parents. One girl, the report said, “did not want to grow up to be like her mother, her father or the adults that are around her.”

The other plan, which the teens each denied when confronted by sheriff’s investigators, involved pulling the fire alarm at Lakewood Ranch High and shooting students who had wronged them. The teens said “the rednecks” picked on them and treated them like “freaks” and deserved to be shot, the reports say.

Henderson had written a suicide note and will, and signed it on Feb. 28, 2001. He was caught by police with the loaded handgun on Friday, March 2, 2001.

“She felt that Richard Henderson Jr. was serious about this,” the report quoted one girl as telling authorities. “She also felt he would have done the shooting on Monday morning at school. She felt this because she understands how Richard Henderson Jr.’s mind works. When he sets his mind to something … he would continue to think about it until it became serious. Then he would really do it, and it would become reality.”

What did Henderson get for his troubles? Five years probation

Though he was 15, Henderson was tried as an adult in the 12th Circuit Court. Records show he was sentenced to five years’ probation.

But, according to the state attorney’s office, Henderson violated his probation when he committed another crime at the age of 19. Henderson, according to court records, was charged with aggravated assault and violation of an injunction after he went to his wife’s home in Bradenton on Dec. 5, 2004. There, he threatened to cut her throat if she didn’t go into the house with him. His wife was not injured, but Henderson cut his left wrist with a steak knife, according to the warrant.

What did he get for that? Only four months behind bars…

Henderson pleaded guilty to assault in the incident, said Dawn Buff, a prosecutor who worked on the case.

A judge allowed Henderson credit for time served for the assault and violation of probation charges, Buff said. He had spent four months in jail by then.

But that’s not all…

Earlier, on May 5, 2004, Henderson was accused of domestic battery and aggravated assault charges. But the charges were dropped on Oct. 12, 2004, court records show.

“The reason we didn’t proceed with that is because the victim reported the incident very late,” Buff said.

And it seems like that this kind of behavior is nothing new

“Even when he was a kid, he’d grab animals out here and rip their legs off and just laugh about it. So he was kind of troubled in the first place,” Henderson’s uncle, Jeffrey Stringer, said.

So it should be no surprise to anyone that this psychopath murdered his family on Thanksgiving and slept next to his dead mother in her bed that night.

So after all the crimes that Henderson committed why was he allowed to walk the streets? Do any of the judges that previously sentenced Henderson have any regrets? They should.

4 thoughts on “More on Richard Henderson Jr.”

  1. I met Rich in middle school, Hail Middle off SR 64 in Bradenton. We were actually friends. I remember holding his daughter Taylor for the first time. Brittany Wilde, his future wife was my friend meeting her through Rich, she was 13 when she got pregnant. I have been to Rich’s house many times, his family was so welcoming and nice and his pet iguana that scared me…. I also had sleep overs with Brittany at my house. If she stayed at my house Rich would have us keep the house phone on all night even as we slept so he was sure the truth was being told. I have old notes from him passed in school. I even a Valentine’s gift. I was single and was joking about having no Valentine’s, he asked me what I wanted. I jokingly said a two headed bunny. Well come Valentine’s day he gave me a two headed stuffed bunny that had a speaker in it and said various things. He took a bunny head off of one stuffed animal and sewed it to the other one. This is in 8th grade. Then we all went to Lakewood Ranch Highschool. I have so many stories as well as things that weren’t reported on. When I learned of the murders I was in shock. I was so close to someone capable of that.. There are many red flags especially as we got older but I never imagined the Thanksgiving murders. Originally a couple others were supposed to do the same, kill their families on that Thanksgiving. Rich was the only one who did it. I wish someone would have came forward anything to prevent this. I was blind to a lot of things too though, I wish I would have known about the pact. I’ve always wanted to go into this case and give information and stories etc. Mainly to help my to help others speak up when you see things going on with your friends as well as for my own mental health and some sense of understanding and closure. I received a letter from him from the county jail, my father threw it away never being read. I’ve thought of writing him many times, but I also think of his baby brother’s sweet smile and personality and the rest of his family who was so kind, his mom bringing us cookies in Rich’s room…. I find myself rambling so sorry. I’m 36 and this is on my mind a lot. If anyone has any questions let me know.


    1. Hello old friend, I too know Richard Henderson for many years. He dated my sister for a long time. I also said that there was something wrong with him. I caught him one time beating a dog with a belt and him and I went at it. I was one of the people on the list of names he wanted to shoot at Lakewood ranch. I will never forget that day. The cops came to me and they said I was the first name on the List and they took me home and two cops stayed at my house until they caught all the people involved. It was crazy. I have also herd many stories from the girls that hung out with him that they where scarred of him and they didn’t like him. His family was the kindest people. I hope you are well. I still pray everyday for his family that was brutally murdered by his hands.


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