Gregory Lance Henderson’s adult life is on the record.
Police and court records.
And that file — with more than two dozen public documents obtained Friday by the Ledger-Enquirer from local law enforcement agencies and courts — paints a clear picture of a man who struggles with drug and anger issues.
Today, Henderson sits in the Russell County jail without bond, awaiting trial for a serious offense. The 31-year-old Columbus man is accused of striking with his car and killing James Anderson, a Lee County, Ala., sheriff’s deputy, during a traffic stop Thursday. If convicted on the capital murder charge, Henderson could face the death penalty in Alabama.
Henderson was sentenced to 15 years and three to serve for a drug conviction in 2007. If he had served the full three years, he would still be in a Georgia prison today.
Henderson, who is unemployed and the unmarried father of four children, has been in and out of jail and prison since 1998, when he was 19 years old. He has been booked into the Muscogee County jail at least 16 times in the last 11 years, according to the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office. He has also had traffic citations in Alabama, records show.
His offenses range from apparently minor violations like failure to use a child restraint seat to felony convictions for aggravated assault and possession of methamphetamine.
At the time he was arrested on suspicion of Anderson’s death, Henderson was on parole in Georgia.
On Sept. 7, 2007, Superior Court Judge Bobby Peters sentenced Henderson to 15 years in prison, three to serve and the remainder on probation, for possession of methamphetamine. Henderson was paroled in about 15 months. His maximum possible release date had been Sept. 27, 2010.
Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones said Friday afternoon he knew Henderson had a criminal background but did not know the extent of it. Jones, mourning the first loss in the line of duty of a Lee County Sheriff’s Office sworn officer in nearly 80 years, was careful in what he said about the suspect and his past offenses.
“I want to make it clear that I am not criticizing anyone,” Jones said, “but this seems to underscore the need to ensure that our criminal justice system keeps people who are dangerous to the public away from the public.”
Randy Robertson, vice president of the local Georgia Fraternal Order of Police chapter and a Columbus law enforcement officer, said this case illustrates the need for tougher mandatory sentencing laws from the Georgia General Assembly.
“The state of Georgia needs to write an apology to the Anderson family because this guy was not where he was supposed to be — which is incarcerated,” Robertson said Saturday.
Read more at LedgerEnquirer.com