Christopher Matthew Henderson and his wife, Rhonda Carlson, of New Market, AL, have been charged with capital murder in the death of his second wife, Kristen Henderson, as well as those of her eight-year-old son, her mother, and her one-year-old nephew.
The four victims were discovered in Kristen’s burning house on Aug. 4, and a home surveillance video put Henderson and Carlson at the house around the time the fire started. Officials have not yet announced a cause of death for any of the victims, though autopsies have been ordered.
Kristen was also nine months pregnant with Henderson’s child, according to both court documents and family friends. It is not yet clear whether or not the pair will also be charged with the death of the unborn child, though Alabama enacted a fetal homicide law in 2006 and conservative outlets such as LifeNews.com have been calling for such measures to be taken.
Henderson had filed for divorce from Kristen in mid-July. That in itself is not highly unusual — an average of 6,646 divorces are filed each day across the nation — but it came to light in subsequent proceedings that Henderson was still married to Carlson.
“He never dissolved the first marriage, so he was actually married to two women at the time. And this was causing some issues in the household which I think precipitated what happened,” Chief Deputy Dave Jernigan has been quoted as saying by multiple sources.
Prior to her death, Kristen had obtained a protection-from-abuse order against Henderson from the Madison County Circuit Court, with Judge Ruth Ann Hall finding that Henderson was a “credible threat” to Kristen’s safety.
If convicted, Henderson and Carlson face life in prison or the death penalty. They are being held without bond in Madison County Jail.
Kristen Henderson’s family members have set up a GoFundMe campaign to cover funeral expenses. As of Aug. 12, it had raised more than $39,000 of its $50,000 goal.