published Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Henry’s bond revoked, hearing delayed

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A judge told the 25-year-old man charged in the killing of a Chattanooga pastor to stay silent about what led to the Rev. David Strong’s death.

“You will do well to exercise your Fifth Amendment right and only discuss with your attorneys matters in this case,” Hamilton County Sessions Court Judge Bob Moon told Antonio Henry during a brief court appearance Monday.

Moon moved Henry’s preliminary hearing, which had been set to take place Monday, to Nov. 3 and revoked his $350,000 bond.

Henry’s mother, Anita Burgis, watched her son, shackled and wearing a red jail jumpsuit, appear before a packed courtroom. She said a part of her was glad he wouldn’t be able to get out of jail on bond since her son would not be safe “on the outside.”

“I am just going to follow his case,” Burgis said. “It’s awful.”

In jailhouse interviews with the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Henry admitted that he hit Strong, the 55-year-old pastor of St. Paul AME Church, with a walking stick and left him bound and bleeding in his home on Glenwood Drive. Strong was buried Monday in Memphis.

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    Staff Photo by Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press Antonio Henry enters Judge Bob Moon's courtroom on Monday morning where bond was originally set at $350,000. Judge Moon revoked Henry's bond.

But Henry claimed in the interview from the Hamilton County Jail that he didn’t kill the pastor.

Cris Helton, a private attorney assigned to represent Henry, said he “was hit blind” when he found out Henry talked to a reporter about the case and is concerned about how the Chattanooga Times Free Press interview could affect the jury pool.

“The case is just a few days old, and to have statements made by the defendant ... out in the press can change the scenario,” Helton said.

Several media outlets have requested interviews, but Helton said he told Henry not to talk to anyone else, and Henry has agreed.

Last week, Henry told the Times Free Press that he and his 16-year-old cousin, Brendan Barnes, who are both charged with felony murder and especially aggravated robbery, went to Strong’s home Oct. 5 because Strong said he would pay them to clean it.

Henry said he “snapped” after the pastor repeatedly asked him to perform a sex act for $100. Henry claimed Strong refused to let him and Barnes leave his house at 404 Glenwood Drive until they gave in to his sexual demands.

“We did not demand no money,” he said during the jailhouse interview last week. “This stuff happened because this man would not listen up and let us up out that house.”

But Chattanooga Police Department investigators say Henry and Barnes planned to rob the pastor. They say the cousins tortured Strong when he wouldn’t tell them his bank card’s personal identification number.

Henry said in the interview that he and Barnes had used Strong’s debit card to withdraw about $200 from an automated teller machine.

While police believe robbery was the motive for the crime, Lt. Kirk Eidson has said they are exploring whether Strong’s sexual preference was a motivating factor in the crime.

Relatives of the pastor say Strong, who was single and had no children, was not gay.

On Oct. 10, police found Henry driving the pastor’s PT Cruiser and later discovered Strong’s body in the hallway of his home.

An autopsy report shows that Strong had been beaten in the head with a stick and a vase and stabbed 18 times with a knife.

Barnes, who is being held at the Hamilton County Juvenile Detention Center, will appear before a judge in Juvenile Court on Nov. 4. Lawyers are expected to set a date for a hearing to determine whether Barnes should be tried as an adult, said Chris Albright, a spokesman for juvenile court.

about Joan Garrett McClane...

Joan Garrett McClane has been a staff writer for the Times Free Press since August 2007. Before becoming a general assignment writer for the paper, she wrote about business, higher education and the court systems. She grew up the oldest of five sisters near Birmingham, Ala., and graduated with a master's and bachelor's degrees in journalism from the University of Alabama. Before landing her first full-time job as a reporter at the Times Free Press, ...

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Mountainaire said...

Unfortuately we live in times where you have to be careful who you invite in your house....

October 19, 2010 at 7:42 p.m.
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