A northwest Georgia woman was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison after admitting to a judge she murdered her father and lied about why she did it.
Hannah Celese Henderson, 26, called 911 the night of Oct. 13, 2018, and told Whitfield County dispatchers she had killed her father, 50-year-old George Samuel Henderson, over sexual assault allegations involving her child. She claimed she was provoked into shooting him after a physical altercation, AJC.com previously reported.
Investigators had questions about her story from the beginning, said Bert Poston, district attorney for the Conasauga Judicial Circuit. Henderson’s father was shot twice in the head at close range, and both times the bullet came from behind. The second and fatal shot to his brain came after the man stumbled down the hallway and into the kitchen of the Dalton home he shared with Henderson, according to prosecutors.
She pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony murder predicated on aggravated assault related to family violence. At Henderson’s sentencing, Poston said she retracted her allegation, saying “it was a lie then and it is a lie now.”
“Henderson expressed remorse for her actions and stated that her father never did anything like that or anything at all to deserve what she did to him,” Poston said in a news release.
Henderson and her child had moved in with her father to get back on their feet. While she had no prior significant criminal history, Henderson had struggled with substance abuse, Poston said. Her father had provided her with a car and a food truck so she could earn an income.
During the investigation, Henderson’s claims about when and where the alleged abuse happened wavered. Poston said the recorded 911 call gave a false impression to the public before all the facts were gathered.
“(The) investigation revealed that the allegation was most likely false, although it becomes very difficult if not impossible to prove a negative — that is to prove that something did not happen,” he said.
He said the woman did not offer an explanation for why she shot her father but told a judge at sentencing “she was an addict and not a monster.” She expressed remorse for his killing and the pain it caused, Poston said.
Henderson will have to serve 30 years from the date of her Oct. 14, 2018, arrest before she becomes eligible for parole, according to prosecutors. As conditions of her plea, Henderson agreed to sign away any rights to her father’s estate and to allow her child to be adopted by another family member.
In other news:
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.