Suspects Got Name of Witness by Mistake. They Killed Him

David Henderson had helped police solve a robbery
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2019 3:02 AM CST
Updated Feb 22, 2019 6:41 AM CST
Suspects Got Name of Witness by Mistake. They Killed Him
Tina Black was sentenced Thursday to life without parole.   (Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office via AP)

David Henderson stepped forward to help Denver police solve a crime—the 2016 robbery of a marijuana dispensary. The mechanic told police he'd seen two people whose cars he'd worked on with weapons and marijuana after the robbery. That got him shot 10 times after court documents identifying him were accidentally sent to the two suspects, the Denver Post reports. On Thursday, Terance Jamal Black, 26, and his mother, Tina Marie Black, 51, were sentenced to life without parole in the 2016 slaying of Henderson, 48. The clerical error was not isolated: An investigation by the judicial system found 1,500 cases in Colorado in a year in which court documents were sent to the wrong people, said George Brauchler, the district attorney for Arapahoe County. The problem has since been fixed, he said.

Witnesses shouldn't be afraid to help police in the future, Brauchler said, adding that he didn't want Henderson's good deed to be overlooked because of the problem with the court documents. "David Henderson is someone who's to be commended for their guts and courage to come forward and do the right thing," he said. The court system isn't responsible for Henderson's death, Brauchler said, but rather the "murderous conduct" of the two Blacks. But Henderson's younger sister, Karen Henderson Atkins, told the Denver Channel that she does hold the court system and police at least partly responsible. Now, the convictions allow her and her family, she says, to breathe easier. And she says they should send a message: "I want people to know that they can't get away with this." (A Good Samaritan stopped to help, and paid a terrible price.)

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