US man sentenced to death for killing wife and family

A we The man convicted of killing his estranged wife, unborn child and three others in northern Alabama six years ago was sentenced to death this week after receiving multiple death sentences.
sentence by Madison County Circuit Judge Chris Comer followed the jury’s 11-to-1 vote to propose death for Christopher Henderson, 46, who could be sentenced to life in prison without parole, news sources reported.

The judge had a choice because Mr. Henderson was indicted before lawmakers took away the option for judges to override jurors’ sentencing recommendations in major cases.

Christopher Henderson
Christopher Henderson. (Madison County Sheriff’s Department/AL.com, via AP)

In July, a jury found Mr. Henderson guilty of the shooting and stabbing death of his wife, Kristin Smallwood; unborn daughter; his eight-year-old son, Clayton Chambers; one-year-old nephew Eli Sokolowski; and his mother, Carol Jean Smallwood.

Kristin Smallwood’s sister, Kelly Smallwood Sokolowski, told the judge about the loss of her sister and son, Eli.

“My father passed away in September of last year and I had a dream and my father was holding Eli in that dream. I know I will see them again,” Sokolowski said.

Kristin Henderson’s brother, Keith Smallwood, said the victims were good people.

“These were people who were happy to be alive and part of a strong family where we loved each other, so it was tough. But … we were determined because we know where they are and smiling,” said Ms. Smallwood.

Kristen Smallwood Henderson, 35 (9 months pregnant)Loryn Brooke Smallwood (unborn child)Clayton Daniel Chambers, 8
In July, a jury found Mr Henderson guilty in the shooting and stabbing murder of his wife, Kristin Smallwood, their unborn daughter and eight-year-old son, Clayton Chambers. (supplied)
Carol Jean Smallwood, 67
Kristin Smallwood’s mother, Carol Jean. (supplied)

Their bodies were found in a burning house in August 2015, less than a week after Kristen Smallwood filed for a court order to keep Mr.

Eli Reed Sokolowski, 1
One-year-old Eli Reed Sokolowski. (supplied)

Mr. Henderson had married another woman, Rhonda Carlson, before divorcing Mrs. Smallwood.

Ms. Carlson admitted to helping plan the murders, but refused to participate in the murders.

He avoided a possible death sentence in a deal with prosecutors and testified that led to Henderson’s conviction.

Speaking in court, Christopher Henderson addressed relatives of the victims and his own.

“I want to offer my deepest apologies to the family,” Henderson said.

“This is something that should never have happened. I also want to apologize to my mother and my daughter.”

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