Man sentenced to 40 years Wednesday for killing step-daughter, injuring 3 other relatives

Published 6:13 pm Wednesday, May 5, 2021

NATCHEZ — A man was sentenced to a total of 40 years in prison Wednesday for the killing of his step-daughter and injuring of three other relatives in Adams County in 2017.

Leroy Henderson, 66, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and three counts aggravated assault for shootings that occurred on Dec. 21, 2017. Henderson received a 20-year sentence for one manslaughter charge and another 20-year sentence to run consecutively for aggravated assault under the direction of Sixth District Circuit Court Judge Lillie Sanders.

The case was prosecuted by the Office of 14th Judicial District Attorney Dee Bates.

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Sixth District Attorney Shameca Collins said her office was recused because Assistant District Attorney Paul Sullivan worked for Henderson as his attorney.

Henderson’s step-daughter, Jeannette Proby, 48, died from a gunshot wound to the chest on Lower Woodville Road and her daughter was stabbed in the hand. Henderson proceeded to Mazique Lane where two other relatives were shot and injured, one in the chest and the other in the leg.

Bates said Henderson testified that he had consumed alcohol, which could have led to his aggressive behavior.

The victim who was shot in the chest was airlifted to Rapides Regional Medical Center and the bullet was not removed from the victim’s body until some months later, Bates said, adding the victim still suffers from health issues because of the incident.

It was a terrible day just before the Christmas holiday and a great loss to the family,” Bates said. “An individual that was like a father to them went violent. It was a bad situation. I’m glad for the family and victims of violence to have closure.”

Bates also thanked Adams County Sheriff’s Office and said officers very were helpful to him in preparing the case.

Henderson was initially indicted in December 2017 for three counts attempted murder and one count of murder and his charges were reduced.

Bates said the reduction in charges was partly because of the defendants age and because of a shortage of jurors needed to hold the trial.

“The resolution of the case was very important from the state’s perspective,” Bates said. We had very few jurors, around 20, and we really had to have 36 for a murder trial. That had a huge affect. … The criminal justice system does not work without citizen participation. … The family needed closure. It happened in 2017 and here we are in 2021.”

Collins emphasized the importance of citizens appearing for jury duty after difficulty finding jurors for Henderson’s trial. Out of 150 people summoned for jury duty, approximately 30 people appeared for jury selection, she said.

The judge can issue warrants for those who do not appear, she said.

“It is important for people to report to jury duty so that trails such as this one do not get held up,” Collins said. “If (Henderson) had not pleaded, it’s possible this case would have been pushed to September.”­