Photo of Dontaye Henderson by Nick Morris
The mother of murdered 25-year-old Tamara Henderson told the killer, “I forgive you for killing my daughter and I pray for you.... I know that hating you would only eat me up inside.”
When convicted killer Dontaye Henderson got his chance to speak, he said, “First off, I would like to ask for another trial to be set,” and he repeated his claim that the shot to his wife’s chest “was a accident.”
At the sentencing hearing in the Vista courthouse on Thursday, February 23, the killer said that he wanted to communicate to members of the media and that there were “facts not disclosed.” Henderson claimed the prosecutor had lied about him. It seemed an afterthought when he mentioned, “I deeply apologize” to the victim’s family.
Superior court judge Robert Kearney, who heard the trial last month, appeared unmoved and found “no basis for a new trial at this time” and continued with sentencing.
The judge spent some minutes adding up the years in prison; the count was complicated because Henderson had a “strike prior” and “prison prior” after being convicted of raping his first wife. The judge also noted that Henderson was on parole at the time and that he had used a gun when he shot Tamara.
After multiple doubling of sentences and enhancements were totaled, Judge Kearney declared Henderson should spend 80 years to life in prison.
After the hearing in the court hallway, Elsie Billups, the mother of Tamara, said she was adopting her two young grandchildren that had witnessed their mother’s death, and she planned to move her family back to Louisiana.