HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) -- A man convicted of killing his estranged wife, her unborn child and three other people six years ago in north Alabama is set for sentencing Thursday after being convicted of multiple counts of capital murder.
A Madison County jury voted 11-1 to recommend death for Christopher Henderson, 46, but a final decision on death or life without parole is up to Circuit Judge Chris Comer. The judge has the choice because Henderson was charged before lawmakers took away the option for judges to override the sentencing recommendation of jurors in capital cases.
A jury in July convicted Henderson in the shooting and stabbing deaths of wife Kristin Smallwood; her unborn daughter; her 8-year-old son Clayton Chambers; her 1-year-old nephew Eli Sokolowski; and her mother, Carol Jean Smallwood.
Their bodies were found in a house that had been burned in August 2015 less than a week after Kristen Smallwood filed for a court order to keep Henderson away from the residence. Henderson had married another woman, Rhonda Carlson, without divorcing Smallwood.
Carlson admitted to helping plan the killings but denied participating in the slayings. She avoided a potential death penalty in a deal with prosecutors and provided testimony that helped lead to Henderson's conviction.