Alabama bigamist and wife face 11 capital murder charges in fire
Eleven capital murder charges were filed on Friday against an accused Alabama bigamist and one of his wives for a fire that killed four people, including two children and the man’s second wife, who was nine months pregnant, authorities said.
If convicted, Christopher Henderson, 40, and Rhonda Carlson, 42, will face either life in prison or the death penalty.
The Aug. 4 fire killed Kristen Henderson, 35, and her unborn child, as well as her 8-year-old son from another relationship and her mother, 67. A 1-year-old family member also died.
The fire happened at a home in Maysville, Alabama, west of Huntsville, police said.
The fire took place a few days after a divorce hearing in which it was revealed that Christopher Henderson had never divorced Carlson, whom he married in Alabama in 2013, before he married Kristen Henderson in Tennessee last September, Madison County Chief Deputy Dave Jernigan told Reuters in an interview.
Kristen Henderson became pregnant soon after the wedding, police said.
In mid-July, Christopher Henderson filed for divorce from her, Jernigan said. A week later, Kristen Henderson won a protective order against him, with a judge determining her husband posed a significant threat to her and her unborn child, he said.
Shortly after that, during a hearing on the divorce, the fact that Christopher Henderson had never divorced Carlson came to light. That development likely caused the pair to decide to set the home on fire a few days later, Jernigan said.
“That’s where the bigamy came out,” Jernigan said. “I think that’s what precipitated it.”
The pair each face five capital murder charges: two for the two children who died, one for the unborn child, one for the fact that the deaths happened in commission of a felony burglary, and one because more than one person was killed in the same crime.
Additionally, Christopher Henderson faces a sixth capital murder charge because his alleged victim had won a restraining order against him, which ratchets up the murder charge to a capital crime under Alabama law.
Bigamy is illegal in Alabama, but no charges were filed in connection to that.
The pair remained without bond in the Madison County Jail on Friday.