Christopher Matthew Henderson, 42, and his wife, Rhonda Jean Carlson, 44, were arrested two years ago in connection with five homicides and a house fire that occurred in Madison County, Alabama.
Earlier in August, WHNT reported a grand jury formally indicted Henderson with 19 counts of capital murder. His wife, Carlson, was indicted with 18 counts.Madison County Jail
Alabama.com reported that Henderson allegedly shot and stabbed members of his second wife’s family before setting her family’s home on fire.
Kristen Smallwood Henderson, 35, was nine months pregnant with Henderson’s child. She moved home with her parents after learning her husband was married to another woman and filed a complaint of bigamy to the police.
At that time, she also filed for a divorce, took out a protection order, and set up a video surveillance system at her parents’ house.
On Aug. 4, 2015, when firefighters arrived at the scene of the house fire, family members approached law enforcement officers and showed them video footage from the house that led to Henderson’s and Carlson’s arrests.Screenshot/WHNT
The Journal-News reported that video surveillance captured Henderson entering the home. Later, Carlson was seen wearing gloves and carrying a gasoline can into the house. Henderson and Carlson both left the home together before the fire was visible.
Carlson claims she wasn’t aware of her husband’s plans to kill his other wife, though she told investigators that “I knew something bad was going to happen.” The couple had been house shopping earlier in the day. After the incident, Henderson told his wife that he had killed Kristen.
Other members of the family killed during the incident include Kristen’s mother, her 8-year-old son, her 1-year-old nephew, and their unborn child.
Here are the victims who died in the house on St Clair LaneCarol Jean Smallwood age 67Kristen Henderson age 35 (9 months pregnant)Clayton Chambers age 8Eli Sokolowski age 1
At the time of the arrest, Kristen’s best friend, Christy Elzer, said in a press conference that the family was in mourning after enduring such a large tragedy:
“It’s how you would normally respond. It’s just awful. It’s just horrible. […] I loved her family. I loved her son.”
According to WPXI, Henderson has not given a statement since his arrest, but he indicated to a detective that he felt guilty for his actions:
“I’m glad you caught me when you did, because I couldn’t live with what I’ve done.”
Kristen married Henderson on Sept. 26, 2014. Henderson married Carlson in February 2013, but the marriage was never dissolved.
Henderson and Carlson are awaiting their trial in Madison County Jail. Dates have not yet been set. They are currently being held without bond.
CBS reported that prosecutors will likely seek the death penalty for this case.