In Alabama, a bigamist and one of his wives have been charged with the murder of his second wife, Kristen Chamber Henderson (35), her son Clayton Chambers (8), niece Eli Sokolowski (1), and mother Jean Smallwood (67). The perpetrators, Christopher Henderson and Rhonda Carlson are in police custody and not eligible for bond. The couple could face life in prison or the death penalty for their crimes.
The Daily Mail reports that at the time of the murders Kristen was nine-months pregnant with Christopher’s daughter and had just found out about his first wife. However, it is still uncertain if Christopher and Rhonda will be charged with the death of Kristen’s unborn baby. In 2006, Alabama enacted a fetal homicide law that defines “person,” for the purpose of criminal homicide or assaults, to include an unborn child in utero at any stage of development, regardless of fetal viability. (Ala. Code § 13A-6-1)
On August 4th, the bodies of all four victims were found in a burning house in Huntsville. Chief Deputy Dave Jernigan said the following about Christopher:
“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.”
In July, Christopher filed for divorce from Kristen but she petitioned the court to withdraw the filing since her husband was still married to his first wife. In her petition, she said, “He has lied about everything since we met.” She was also granted an order of protection after she revealed that she was being abused.
It is suspected that Christopher and Rhonda committed the murders after one of the court hearings with Kristen.
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As LifeNews previously reported, 37 states in the U.S. recognize the unlawful killing of an unborn child as homicide in at least some circumstances. The federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act, enacted April 1, 2004, covers unborn victims of federal and military crimes.
Unfortunately, in states like Colorado where protective laws aren’t in place unborn babies who die in criminal attacks don’t receive the justice they deserve. In fact, earlier this year a perpetrator escaped a murder charge after cutting a seven-month-old unborn baby from a woman’s womb in Longmont, Colorado. This is because their state’s criminal law defines a person, when referring to the victim of a homicide, as a “born” and alive human being at the time of the attack.