Scars

Scars shown to jury at Henderson trial:

Yesterday was the day for courtroom theatrics in the Henderson trial.

It started with his emo scars.

Accused killer Richard Henderson Jr. rose from his seat Monday, walked to the jury box and stood directly in front the jury whose members will decide his fate.

The 22-year-old, on trial for allegedly bludgeoning four family members to death on Thanksgiving Day 2005, rolled up his sleeves and exposed scarred forearms.

Some jurors leaned in towards him and closely observed dozens of marks on the defendant’s arms – the result of self-mutilation, according to Henderson’s lead defense attorney, Carolyn Schlemmer.

Earlier in the day, Nicholas Roberts – a defense witness who said he previously worked for Henderson’s parents doing lawn service – testified that he had seen Henderson cut himself when they were younger.

“He pretty much always had cuts on him,” Roberts said during the sixth day of testimony in Henderson’s capital murder trial.

Staples, razors, knives, “anything with a point on it,” are among some of the objects that Henderson used to hurt himself, said Roberts, who has known Henderson since eighth grade. Henderson also frequently talked about suicide, he said.

Then he should have killed himself not his entire family.

Now let’s hear from the doctors…

Dr. Dilip Chaparala, a psychiatrist at Manatee Glens who testified for the defense, confirmed Henderson’s self-mutilating and “superficial cuts.” He said he learned of the injuries because he said Henderson was admitted to the mental health facility on two occasions in 2001 and 2002 after getting in trouble for a group suicide plot involving three juveniles at Lakewood Ranch High School.

Let me stop Dr. Chalupa right there for a second. Since Henderson’s cuts were superficial it sounds like to me he was just an attention whore. Real cutters hide their cuts. And the group suicide plot was more than that, it was also a plan to attack a high school. Which is how I got interested in this case. But let’s get back to Dr. Chpotle…

Chaparala also said Henderson was diagnosed with major depression and that he was on and off of anti-psychotic and anti-depressant medications in the years prior to the killings. Some of the medicine included Lithium, Paxil and Zoloft.

This becomes important later.

Another psychologist, Dr. Richard Droz, testified he met with Henderson seven times from July 2001 through April 2003, after Henderson Jr. was referred to him following the group suicide plot.

The doctor described Henderson as a misfit, and said Henderson told him he was constantly picked on at school and felt like an outcast.

If you’re cutting yourself for attention and talking about suicide all the time you may just get picked on at school. But again he didn’t kill his alleged bullies, did he?

Dr. Droz continues…

Droz said Henderson’s parents didn’t take his mental health problems seriously. He described them as hardworking, but unsophisticated and simple people.

If Henderson was on Lithium, Paxil, and Zoloft it sounds like his family did take his mental problems seriously. And from what I’ve heard from friends of the family Henderson’s parents did everything in their power to help him.

Now let’s sprinkle in a dash of junk science.

Also on Monday, Psychiatrist Joseph Wu, with the Brain Imaging Center at the University of California at Irvine College of Medicine, took the stand and showed jurors a scan of Henderson’s brain taken in August 2006.

“It’s clearly abnormal in my opinion,” said Wu, an expert witness for the defense.

Using a Power Point presentation, Wu compared the scan to a “normal” brain and said Henderson’s brain indicated an abnormality consistent with problems including schizophrenia, manic-depressive disorder, a brain injury or a combination of all of them.

Well, it must be legit if he’s using PowerPoint. My point being is that it does not excuse murder. I don’t care if his brain was nothing but sawdust.

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