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Letter: Juror offers insight on Heather Henson trial

| December 31, 2008 11:00 PM

Dear Editor:

As a juror in the Heather Henson trial, I feel compelled to correct some misstatements in The Western News.

The jury sat through seven days of testimony and considered evidence that was very complicated and emotionally difficult. Nuances existed in this case that required careful consideration of details from many sources. We had to discern which, if any, of the four deliberate homicide charges best fit the evidence and ultimately agreed that Ms. Henson was guilty of mitigated attempted deliberate homicide.

The Western News reported that the jury believed the shots Ms. Henson fired had she been alone would not have resulted in his death – this is not true. We relied on the coroner’s testimony and ballistics evidence to help guide us toward our conclusions. The jury did not create hypothetical situations, such as surmising what would or would not have happened had Henson been alone with Mr. Kingsly – the facts are that she wasn’t.

This verdict may not make sense to some, but these are likely people who had made up their minds prior to the trial. Without analyzing the evidence, it would be impossible to determine whether Ms. Henson was or was not guilty of each charge.

For me, this trial and its consequences will always haunt me; there are no winners. The only thing positive about this experience is that sitting on this particular jury restored my faith that people of diverse views and inclinations can come together and reach difficult decisions in a reasonable, rational and thoughtful way. We listened to each other respectfully, and for hours re-read notes, the judge’s instructions and the definition of charges. Ultimately, the decisions we reached were based on the evidence presented – I hope whomever disagrees with the jury’s decision will give us the benefit of the doubt.

Rebecca Harrison