JUDY'S STORY


    1. Accessory participation in the crime; murder committed by
    another person. Trial Judge noted:

    "The defendant was an accomplice in the capital felony
    committed by another person and (her) participation was
    relatively minor." (The murder was committed by Ms.
    Henderson’s former boyfriend, Greg Cruzen.)

    2. No prior criminal history; exceptional rehabilitation efforts
    (see complete listing under "Rehabilitation.); employment offers.  
    Trial Judge noted:

    "The defendant has no significant history of prior criminal
    activity."
    Prison records document exceptional behavior and rehabilitation.
    Ms. Henderson has been offered several employment
    opportunities upon release.

    3. Childhood sexual abuse, spousal abuse, and other legal
    defenses and/or mitigating circumstances not available at the time
    of her conviction.

    Missouri House Bill 583, passed on May 18, 2007 (now known
    as Missouri Statute 217.692), provides eligibility for parole after
    serving fifteen years for offenders given the same sentence Ms.
    Henderson received and whose trials commenced prior to
    December 31, 1990, as hers did. However, HB 583 is limited to
    a single criminal act: the homicide of a spouse or domestic
    partner. HB 583 is relevant to Ms. Henderson's case in that it
    recognizes that a history of physical or sexual abuse is relevant to
    certain crimes and can be used as an affirmative defense.

    Ms. Henderson meets all the criteria for release with one notable
    exception: she was not convicted of the homicide of a spouse or
    domestic partner (it was her co-defendant Cruzen who was one
    of her abusers).

    4.  Documented diminished mental capacity as a result of the
    history of abuse (medical reports prior to and after the crime).
    Judy's attorney knew of these medical records and suicide attempts
    but did not use them in her defense or in the penalty phase of the trial
    after she had been convicted (see details below, footnote 1).

    5. Legal issues:

    Ms. Henderson’s co-defendant, Greg Cruzen, was charged with firing
    a .38 pistol, causing the death of Harry Klein. State’s witness Don
    Littlejohn testified Cruzen told him he had shot Klein “three or four
    times” with a .38. Littlejohn testified that Ms. Henderson admitted that
    she had agreed to help with a robbery but did not participate in the
    shooting and that she was wounded by a bullet that passed through
    Mr. Klein.

    Defense attorney James McMullin represented both Judy and her co-
    defendant Greg Cruzen, resulting in a "conflict of interest" as defined
    by law. A conflict of interest occurred when the prosecutor offered
    Judy a plea bargain in exchange for her testimony against Cruzen.

    Following the pre-trial conference on June 25, 1982, during which she
    learned that the State could seek the death penalty, Judy requested
    that McMullin seek a plea agreement. This occurred just three days
    before her trial was scheduled to begin.

    McMullin acknowledged that he had discussed a plea bargain in the
    prosecutor's office on the day Judy asked him to negotiate one. He
    testified (27.26 Post Conviction Appeal testimony) that he could not
    recall if he approached the prosecutor or the prosecutor approached
    him. Asked if Ms. Henderson had requested him to inquire about a
    plea bargain, he answered: "I don't recall that. I don't think so … She
    may have asked me to do it, I don't know."

    Prosecutor Tom Mountjoy testified that McMullin approached him
    about a plea bargain on the very day Judy said she requested that he
    do so. Mountjoy stated (27.26): “[McMullin] made the comment in
    the office when I made the offer to him that he would have to
    withdraw from representation on both Miss Henderson and Mr.
    Cruzen if she would accept that."

    Although Judy accepted the offer, McMullin did not withdraw as
    attorney for either of his two defendants. By the time he returned to
    Prosecutor Mountjoy’s office with her acceptance of the offer, it had
    been withdrawn. While McMullin was discussing the plea bargain with
    Judy, Prosecutor Mountjoy was meeting with a third participant in the
    crime, Don Littlejohn. Littlejohn was granted immunity in exchange
    for his testimony against Judy and Cruzen.

    After her conviction, when she was represented by an independent
    attorney acting on her behalf and in her best interest, Judy sent word
    to Prosecutor Mountjoy that she was still willing to testify against
    Cruzen.

    Prosecutor Tom Mountjoy testified that the plea offer (before and
    after her conviction) was a reduction of the charge from capital
    murder to first degree murder, an offense that permitted parole after
    about ten years, assuming a good prison record.

    On March 31, 1993, Taney County Prosecuting Attorney, Don
    Clough, wrote a letter to Governor Mel Carnahan in which he stated
    his support for a commutation of sentence for Judy. In that letter he
    wrote:

    "I had an agreement worked out with Prosecutor Tom Mountjoy
    that Judy would testify against her co-defendant and boyfriend,
    and that the allegations in the 27.26 motion would be admitted
    by the State and her conviction would be set aside. She would
    then plea to an amended charge, receive a life sentence and
    would probably be paroled in about ten (10) years.
    Unfortunately, at that time, I withdrew from representing her and
    she obtained new counsel. I am not exactly certain what
    happened after that, but I do know that Judy did not testify for
    the State and her conviction was never set aside.

    "Having fully investigated this case when I represented Judy, I
    know that her part in the murder was minimal when compared to
    her boyfriend and to the State's main witness at the trial of the
    boyfriend." ("the State's main witness" to whom Clough referred
    was Don Littlejohn.)

    "If you will please note, in her clemency packet, along with other
    evidence, there is a cassette taped transcript of the oral
    arguments from Judy's 8th Federal Circuit Court Appeal. One of
    the three (3) judges on the panel asked the Assistant Attorney
    General, 'if he felt there was a possibility of 'sandbagging' going
    on in her case?' The Assistant Attorney General answered, 'that
    is a possibility.'"

    This is the same plea agreement Ms. Henderson accepted prior to her
    trial.

    According to testimony by Clough, Mountjoy, Detective Alexander,
    and Judy, Mountjoy and Clough reached an agreement about leniency
    for Judy in exchange for her testimony against Cruzen. That meeting
    was tape recorded.

    During the 27.26 Post Conviction Appeal, the Judge erroneously
    addressed attorney Ben Upp as “[Ms. Henderson's] attorney.” Every
    person who testified about the matter (Prosecutor Mountjoy, Ben
    Upp, McMullin, and Ms. Henderson) said Upp was not her attorney,
    and he was never listed as her Attorney of Record. He ran errands for
    McMullin (from Kansas City) and gave him an office in which to
    work. Only McMullin acted as her attorney, and he did so while he
    was also representing Cruzen. The Judge’s erroneous address to Upp
    resulted in a flawed transcript upon which all subsequent Appeals
    relied. Because of this major flaw, Ms. Henderson's conviction was
    upheld in spite of a clear conflict of interest.  

Footnotes:

1. Documented diminished mental capacity as a result of the history of
abuse.

    Ten months before the crime Judy Henderson was hospitalized for a
    suicide attempt. Her condition was summarized as follows:

    "… the constellation of answers were more indicative of a type of
    borderline psychosis. Typically, such a person does not look psychotic
    but their daily function varies considerably and when placed under any
    degree of psychological stress they may cease to test reality
    adequately."

    On September 7, 1981, just two months after the crime Ms.
    Henderson again attempted suicide. Following an intentional drug
    overdose she was air lifted to a Fairbanks hospital unconscious. The
    admitting nurse noted:

    "…bruises on face and hands" and "OD–had fight…boyfriend…"

    After she recovered from the overdose, she refused to speak with a
    counselor. The treating physician noted:

           "32 [Year Old white female] took O.D. of Elavil 'to kill myself.'"

    "Politely but firmly resisted any inquiry on my part—stated 'the only
    person I talk to is my boyfriend'. I would suspect that their relationship
    was a major factor in the O.D."

           (Medical Records available upon request.)

    Attorney McMullin, was aware of both hospital admissions and the
    psychological evaluation from the 1980 admission, yet he did not
    present them during her trial or prior to her sentencing as additional
    mitigating circumstances. In fact, McMullin requested that these two
    suicide attempts, which he characterized first as "drug overdoses," not
    be mentioned by the Prosecution during Ms. Henderson's criminal trial.

    During the pre-trial conference, Judge Keet granted that request as
    noted on the Docket Sheet on June 25, 1982, and in the pre-trial
    conference transcript.

    Judge Keet did not disclose this knowledge in his Trial Judge's Report,
    nor was her mental condition noted under “Mitigating Circumstances.”

    Judge Keet did not request a pre-trial psychological evaluation to
    determine if Ms. Henderson was competent to make appropriate
    decisions regarding her defense. She had been charged with capital
    murder, and Judge Keet permitted the State to seek the death penalty
    knowing of her two suicide attempts.

    As demonstrated by her choices and the outcome of those choices,
    Ms. Henderson was not competent to make appropriate decisions
    regarding her defense.

    Ms. Henderson's mental condition before and after the crime,
    diagnosed as "a type of borderline psychosis," was never presented at
    any appeal hearing subsequent to the criminal trial. It is now time
    prohibited.

2. Documented evidence that Ms. Henderson was not directly
responsible for the death of the victim, Harry Klein.
            
    Trial testimony by expert witnesses - medical examiner and lab
    technician -  confirmed that Ms. Henderson could not have fired
    any of the bullets that struck Mr. Klein.

                                                ***
Additional indicators that Judy Henderson has earned Executive
Clemency:

1. Psychological fitness:

    Dr. Daniels, a psychiatrist contracted by Probation and Parole on July
    13, 2004, began a psychological evaluation which concluded on
    August 11, 2004, attesting to Ms. Henderson's stability and readiness
    to become a productive member of society. (Reports in P&P files.)

    Ms. Henderson also received psychological testing during a June 23,
    2005, two-hour consultation in St. Joseph, Missouri, by psychiatrist
    Dr. Hogan, an independent psychiatrist hired, she said, by the Board
    of Probation and Parole to conduct what she described as a "Pre-
    Release Evaluation." (Report in P&P files.)

2. Preparedness for gainful employment (see "Rehabilitation").
    
3. Willingness to testify for the prosecution:

    Ms. Henderson was willing before and after her conviction to testify
    for the prosecution against Cruzen. Littlejohn received immunity for
    his testimony, while Cruzen - who committed the murder - was
    acquitted. Ms. Henderson, the least culpable of the three is the only
    person convicted in the death of Harry Klein.

4. Excessive sentence made more egregious by current sentencing
for similar crimes:

    Ms. Henderson’s sentence was excessive for a person who did not
    personally cause the death of the victim and who did not know the
    victim would be killed. Her sentence was extremely disproportionate to
    men convicted of the same crime. It ignores the fact that her attorney
    also represented her co-defendant at the time he was supposed to
    represent her. It overlooks the mitigating circumstances from her
    childhood, her marriage, her relationship and fear of Mr. Cruzen, and
    her defense attorney's abysmal performance. It ignores her offer to
    cooperate with the prosecution of Cruzen for the shooting of Mr.
    Klein and Don Littlejohn for conspiring with Cruzen in the planning of
    the crime.  

Judy Henderson turned sixty-five on July 1, 2014. She has served nearly
thirty-three years of a “Life without Parole for Fifty Years" sentence.  She
has reason to believe that Governor Mel Carnahan was prepared to
commute her sentence to life with parole in 2000 but died tragically before
making that commutation official. The “Pre-release evaluation” in June
2005 suggests the Board of Probation and Parole recommended a
commutation of sentence in 2004.

Thirty-three years for being “an accomplice in a capital felony committed by
another person and her participation was relatively minor” should be
sufficient to satisfy the most ardent supporter of “law and order,” especially
considering the “other person” was acquitted of the crime.

Compelling Issues that Support
Judy Henderson's Plea for Executive Clemency

JUDY'S STORY
PLEASE SIGN JUDY'S PETITION: CLICK HERE