Alabama wife testifies against husband in trial he killed second wife, four others

Published 11:00 pm Monday, June 28, 2021

Testimony continued Monday in the capital murder trial of Christopher Henderson, a north Alabama man accused of working with his first wife to kill his pregnant second wife and four members of her family.

Prosecutors say Christopher Henderson was still legally married Rhonda Carlson, when he married Kristen Smallwood Henderson. They said Christopher Henderson and Carlson later plotted to kill Kristen Henderson and her family in 2015. The five family members, including two children, were shot and stabbed before the house was set ablaze, authorities said.

Carlson, who took a plea deal to avoid the death penalty, testified last week, news outlets reported. Defense lawyers cross-examined her Monday.

Kristin Smallwood Henderson was nine months pregnant with Henderson’s child at the time of the killings. Her 8-year-old son, Clayton Chambers, her mother, Jean Smallwood, and her 1-year-old nephew, Eli Sokolowski, were also killed. The Huntsville-area house was engulfed in flames with the victims’ bodies inside when authorities arrived.

Carlson testified last week that Christopher Henderson planned and orchestrated the killings. She said when she brought a gas can to the home, she saw two of the victims and didn’t think anyone was alive in the home. Christopher Henderson then poured the gasoline and lit it on fire, she testified.

Henderson’s lawyers told jurors in opening statements that Carlson was to blame for the murders.

During questioning by defense lawyers on Monday, Carlson acknowledged she had told multiple versions about what happened that day.