DA seeking prosecutor for Henderson

COVINGTON -- Newton County District Attorney Ken Wynne has announced that he will ask the Georgia Attorney General's office to appoint a special prosecutor to handle the case of Newton County Commissioner J.C. Henderson.

Henderson, 53, was charged with battery under the Family Violence Act, a misdemeanor, after an alleged family fight on Oct. 10.

"I disqualified our office and requested that the attorney general assign another prosecutor to handle the case to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest," Wynne said. "Since Mr. Henderson sits on the Board of Commissioners which approves the budget for the district attorney's office, I feared the perception that Mr. Henderson would be treated leniently by our office. The other side of that is the perception that he would be singled out by our office because he is a public official. There is just no way to dispel either perception, so I decided that the wiser course of action would be to have someone from outside Newton County handle the matter."

Covington Police Department officers went to Henderson's home at 7134 Puckett St. following a 911 call from Quin Henderson, the 17-year-old who J.C. Henderson has identified as his stepson.

According to CPD reports, Quin Henderson told officers "his mother came running out of the house and told him to call 911 because she thinks he (J.C. Henderson) was going to put his hands on her."

When officers arrived, they found Mrs. Henderson on the front porch and noticed she was rubbing her left hand and that she had a busted lip.

"I asked (Mrs.) Henderson what happened. Henderson began crying and stated nothing was wrong and nothing happened," the report states. "I was standing on the front porch of the residence at the open door. J.C. Henderson was just inside the residence so I asked him what happened. J.C. Henderson only would state, 'Ask her,' referring to his wife Sandy."

"I asked her how her lip became injured. She stated several times she didn't know but that J.C. didn't hit her," the report states. "Henderson then stated she was running away from J.C. to get away from him and she hit her mouth on the front door."

CPD spokesman Lt. Wendell Wagstaff said at the time of the incident that because of the Family Violence Act, his officers were mandated to make an arrest.

"All evidence we have points to J.C. Henderson causing harm and injuring his wife. We have to protect the victim. That's why the law was made. We're not judges," Wagstaff said. "We'll put it before the court and let the court decide. Our officers are confident and they documented everything pretty good."

Henderson initially was represented by Public Defender Anthony Carter, but since that time has employed Covington attorney John L. Strauss.

"I know you will find out this was a misunderstanding. I love my wife and would never do anything to harm her or anyone else," Henderson stated at the time of the incident.

In the meantime, Quintarious "Quin" Henderson has found himself with legal problems, as well.

On Jan. 12, he was discovered on the property of a homeowner who had previously taken out a restraining order against him. He was arrested and charged with aggravated stalking. How his case will be handled has not been settled.

"I have not yet made a decision in the matter of Mr. Henderson's (step)son but will do so by end of the week," Wynne said Monday morning.