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Man 'can't believe' he killed 4 in his family

Associated Press
Published December 3, 2005

"I have problems. ... I loved my family," he says.

BRADENTON - A man who has confessed to bludgeoning four members of his family to death said he is severely mentally ill and can't explain why he did it.

"I have problems. I can't believe I did what I did," Richard E. Henderson Jr., 20, told the Bradenton Herald in telephone interviews from jail Thursday. "I want everyone to know I loved my family. I miss them, and I love them."

Manatee County investigators said Henderson told them he sneaked up on his parents, younger brother and grandmother one by one and beat them with a 21/2-foot metal pipe on Thanksgiving night.

The bodies of the Hendersons - Richard Sr., 48, Jeaneane, 42, Jake, 11, and June, 82 - were found Sunday in separate rooms of their Myakka City home in eastern Manatee County. Richard Henderson Jr. was arrested walking along a busy road Sunday night.

According to a Sheriff's Office report, Henderson told investigators he killed his family because they wouldn't let him leave. But he said he was not angry at them.

"Henderson planned to collect money to buy enough drugs or poison to kill himself," the report said.

Henderson told the Herald his mental illness, not drugs, led to the slayings. "I've been bipolar since I was 13," he said. "I'm massive depressive. My parents were trying to get me help for a week or two before it happened."

He said he has tried to commit suicide numerous times and has been prescribed many medications. He said he stopped taking them when he was 18.

"I should have got help. This should have never happened," he said.

Henderson is in the medical unit of the Manatee County jail under a doctor's care.

The Public Defender's Office, which is representing Henderson, declined to comment Friday.

[Last modified December 3, 2005, 01:21:14]

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