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Meth-induced attacker receives max sentence

By Makenna Mays, Staff Writer

A 24-year-old Laurel man recently received the maximum six-year sentence for an incident that occurred earlier this year.

On May 2, Jeffery Henson attacked a 55-year-old man in broad daylight. Henson pleaded guilty to Battery and Intimidation, both Level 5 Felonies and Resisting Law Enforcement, a Class A Misdemeanor. A Level 5 Felony is punishable by a sentence of one to six years in the Indiana Department of Corrections; a Class A Misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in local jail.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Franklin County 911 received three calls in the span of 10 minutes involving Henson. The final call described an unconscious male in front of Baker's Liquor in Laurel who was being kicked by his attacker.

Franklin County Sheriff's Deputy John Roberts arrived at the scene soon after that call, recognized the assailant as Henson and ordered him to the ground. Henson refused to comply and had to be tased in order for Roberts to get him in handcuffs.

Once Henson had been secured in the patrol car, Roberts turned his attention to the victim who had regained consciousness but was bleeding from a cut on his head. Emergency medical responders were called to assist the victim. Roberts then spoke to several witnesses who described Henson as screaming and looking for a fight prior to the attack. The victim just happened to be exiting the liquor store when Henson attacked him for apparently no reason.

Roberts spoke to the victim the next day after he had been treated and released from the hospital. The victim said that Henson had also pulled a knife and threatened to kill him. According to prosecutor Chris Huerkamp, the victim did not know Henson and had never seen or heard of him prior to being assaulted. Following Henson's arrest, he was booked into the Franklin County Security Center where he remained throughout the pendency of the case.

Henson plead guilty on Aug. 4, several weeks ahead of the first-scheduled trial date. There was no please agreement—sentencing would be left to Judge Kellerman who ordered the probation department to complete a pre-sentence investigation of Henson.

At the sentence hearing on Sept. 4, Henson testified that he had smoked meth earlier in the day and blamed his actions on drug problems. Henson, though his attorney, agreed that a 6-year sentence was appropriate, but requested that the Court suspend the final three years of the sentence to probation and that the Court recommend him for drug treatment programs at the Department of Corrections that could make him eligible for a time-cut.

Heurkamp emphasized the random and vicious nature of the attack and Henson's significant criminal history. He urged that the Court impose the maximum sentence with no time suspended and deny Henson's request for eligibility towards a potential time-cut. Huerkamp has been in contact with the victim throughout the pendency of the case and reports that he was satisfied with the swift resolution of the case.