Investigator on Vanessa Melson case: James Henderson changed sto - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Investigator on Vanessa Melson case: James Henderson changed story numerous times

Source: KTRE Staff Source: KTRE Staff
James Henderson (Source: Houston County Jail) James Henderson (Source: Houston County Jail)
Robert Mobley Jr. (Source: Houston County Jail) Robert Mobley Jr. (Source: Houston County Jail)
Brenna Theuer (Source: Houston County Jail) Brenna Theuer (Source: Houston County Jail)
Vanessa Melson (Source: Facebook) Vanessa Melson (Source: Facebook)
CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) -

The third day of James “Eddy” Henderson’s aggravated kidnapping trial stood out as the state’s most noticeable attempt to completely discredit Henderson and any information he had given during the investigation.  

Henderson, of Crockett, was arrested in connection to Vanessa Melson’s brutal beating death in 2015. Henderson was indicted on a first-degree aggravated kidnapping charge back in May of 2016.

If Henderson is found guilty of aggravated kidnapping he faces a punishment range of five to 99 years in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

On Aug. 25, a Houston County jury needed only 30 minutes to find Robert David Mobley Jr. Mobley guilty of first-degree aggravated kidnapping in connection to Melson’s death. Mobley’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 28.
The state’s attorney, Donna Kaspar, continued questioning William Rulland. Rulland was the investigator with Houston County, that lead the investigation into Melson’s death. 
 
Part of Rulland’s testimony included video interviews with Henderson. One of the clips had been taken of Henderson walking around his property with law enforcement. It was filmed after Melson’s body had been found.
 
In the clip, Henderson was telling law enforcement that, on June 16, 2015, he had watched Robert Mobley beat Melson, through a window in his kitchen. He stated that Mobley was committing these actions in a pasture.
 
Testimony from Rulland, after the video was viewed, showed that, even in 2015, law enforcement didn’t fully believe Henderson’s account. 
 
“The view out the window was next to impossible to see anything,” Rulland said. “One, minute, he says he sees them walking through the door. Then, he says he brought her in and placed her in the laundry room.”
 
In the video, Rulland questioned Henderson on why he didn’t get help for Melson, as soon as he could. Later in the morning, on June 16, Henderson tells police that he and Brenna Theuer tried to catch a ride with a man, that they had met driving near their home. 
 
“He catches a ride, goes three miles down the road instead of going to town,” Rulland said in court. “He passed any number of telephones. He said he was going for help. But, he didn’t get any. It seems like he was killing time to stay away from the house.”
 
The video of law enforcement walking with Henderson on his property ended with law enforcement officers questioning Henderson on the wooded areas, near his property. At this point, authorities were aware of where Melson’s body was buried, but Henderson has not been officially informed.
 
“He pointed to every piece of woods except where she was buried,” said Rulland, in court. “It was the closest woods to him. He was very reluctant to go out there.”
 
In another interview with Henderson, filmed at the Houston County Sheriff’s Office in 2015, Rulland tried to get a straight story out of Henderson.
 
“You’re painting yourself into a corner,” Rulland said in the clip. “You thought your life depended on you lying. Now it depends on you telling the truth.”

Henderson goes on to tell Rulland multiple things that happened in the early hours of June 16. Many of these things he would later go back on.
 
In the video, Henderson told Rulland that he assumed Melson’s purse was back at his house. In earlier testimony, Rulland said that Henderson confessed to burning the purse, and evidence was found of this.
 
He also told Rulland and other law enforcement, in earlier interviews, that he had had no idea that Mobley was driving to his house that night. Phone records, uncovered later in the investigation, revealed that Henderson, in fact, did know that Mobley was coming.
 
“I’ve lost count of how many times he’s changed his story,” Rulland said in court. “He’ll change it and then add a little more of it.”
 
In an interview with Rulland on June 30, Henderson revealed that Mobley brought a bag of methamphetamine into Henderson’s home. Rulland testified in court that he already knew this piece of information because Theuer had told them earlier. 
 
“The information was slowly coming out,” Rulland said in court. “I felt like he was minimizing his role in the event.”
 
The defense had not questioned the witness before the jurors were released for lunch.

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