Jury hears chilling audio in deputy murder trial - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Jury hears chilling audio in deputy murder trial

OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - Prosecution could rest its case Friday in the Gregory Henderson trial in Opelika.  Henderson is accused of running over and killing Lee County sheriff's deputy, James Anderson, two years ago.

Thursday, the jury heard dramatic testimony from the deputy's partner, who witnessed the incident.

In opening statements, prosecution told the jury Henderson refused to stop when Deputy Anderson tried to pull him over. Instead he pulled into the front yard of a Smiths Station home and turned the car around. They say Deputy Anderson was out of his car, with his gun drawn ordering Henderson to get out of the car. Instead of complying, they say Henderson ran the deputy over - pinning him under the car.

Clint Knox, a volunteer firefighter, struggled to maintain his composure on the stand. He testified when he got on the scene Deputy Katie Bonham had Gregory Henderson at gun point on the ground.

Knox recalled he helped Deputy Bonham get Henderson into the back of the patrol car. He then tried to use car jacks to raise the vehicle off of Deputy Anderson's body, but the car was deep into the ground. Knox testified a wrecker was able to lift the car up and he pulled Deputy Anderson out. Knox says Anderson was not breathing and he did not have a pulse, so they began CPR.

Charles Wright, an ABI investigator also took the stand Thursday as prosecutors revealed pictures of the crime scene to the jury. Jurors were shown James Anderson's uniform and gun belt and the damage done to both.

In addition, jurors were shown pictures of Anderson's vomit, where he threw up after he was struck by the car driven by Gregory Henderson.  Included in the photos are skid marks and tire marks in the dirt where the prosecution claims Henderson sped up as his vehicle was on top of Deputy Anderson, but could not get away because the car was stuck on Deputy Anderson's body and gun belt.

As the photos are revealed, Deputy Anderson's family hold onto one another and sob.

The first witness in the case, Erin Pierce, was called to the stand. Pierce is the dispatcher who took Deputy James Anderson's last call when he was still alive. She broke down in sobs on the stand as the call was played back for the jury.

In the recording, Deputy Anderson asks Pierce to run a car tag. The tag comes back to a black Ford Thunderbird. It does not match the white Nissan it is on, so Deputy Anderson proceeds to make a traffic stop. The jury then hears a second deputy come on the radio and advise the dispatcher that the subject has just run over the deputy.

There is silence on the tape, then you hear Anderson's partner, Deputy Katie Bonham, come on the radio and in an urgent almost panicked voice she tells dispatch the suspect has just run over the deputy, "Be advised, the deputy is under the vehicle at this time," says dispatcher Erin Pierce on tape.  

They say Henderson tried to keep going, but the deputy's body stopped the car from moving - so instead the tires kept sinking into the ground, pressing the vehicle harder and harder on the deputy's body.

In their openings, the defense told the jury they knew Henderson was not walking out after this trial, but that he should not be convicted of capital murder - a lesser charge. Investigators believe Henderson was strung out on meth and did not know what he was doing.

The defense says in the dash cam video that will be shown to the jury, Henderson is heard crying, saying it was an accident and that he wants to help get his car off of Deputy Anderson.

We expect Deputy Katie Bonham who was riding with Deputy James Anderson the day he was killed to take the stand after lunch.

If convicted, Henderson could be given the death sentence.

Count on News Leader 9 to bring you the latest developments from the Lee County Justice Center.

Copyright 2011 WTVM. All rights reserved.


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