CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - A Houston County jury sentenced a Crockett man to 99 years in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice Prison after they found him guilty of first-degree aggravated kidnapping in connection to the brutal 2015 beating death of Vanessa Melson Monday.
The jury deliberated on James "Eddy" Henderson's sentence for about 50 minutes before they gave him the maximum amount of prison time possible under Texas law, according to Michael Molnes, an investigator with the Houston County Sheriff's Office. The possible punishment range was five to 99 years
Earlier Monday, the jury needed only 30 minutes to find Henderson guilty of first-degree aggravated kidnapping in connection to the brutal 2015 beating death of Vanessa Melson Monday morning.
Henderson is accused of helping Robert Mobley kidnap Melson, who was Mobley's girlfriend, in 2015. It was learned in trial testimony that Henderson held Melson down while Mobley beat her. He also may have had sex with Melson's dead body.
A jury found Mobley guilty of aggravated kidnapping in August. A judge will sentence him on Thursday.
According to previous reports, Melson's father saw Melson leave his home and get into a pickup with who the father recognized as Mobley. He said that was the last time he saw Melson alive.
Witnesses said they saw Mobley beating Melson up as well as shoot her up repeatedly with meth. They said Mobley did it because Melson was a snitch.
Will Johnson of the Grapeland Messenger provided the following report from the victim impact statements at the trial:
The first person to speak was Sarah Hall, a friend of the Melson family. Hall said she would speak on behalf of Brandy Mosley, Vanessa's sister who tragically drowned earlier this year.
Hall said Brandy Mosley had composed the statement after her sister's body had been found in early July of 2015.
"To everyone else, this is just the story of the week. As for us, Vanessa's family and friends, this is a devastating part of our lives. After everyone else has moved onto the next major thing, we will still be here grieving the loss of someone very special and very important," Hall said.
"To some," Hall continued, "you may be just a, body found in a shallow grave. To me you are my little sister and to those who know you, you are Nessa."
Magan Melson, Vanessa Melson's younger sister followed Hall.
Fighting back tears of sadness and anger, she said, "You said you barely knew Vanessa. But that wasn't true. You had known her since she was a kid. Why did y'all do this to her?"
"You have no idea what you have done. Her kids were affected. Your kids were affected. The whole community was affected. Your actions were no less than satanic," Melson said.
The final person to provide a victim's impact statement was Melissa Crozier, Vanessa Melson's best friend.
"Vanessa was more than my best friend, she was like my sister. We will never get to see her again, or smile or hear her laugh," Crozier said.
"You may have taken her life away, but you did not take away her legacy," Crozier furthered. "Because I am who I am, I forgive you. You showed no compassion to her, whatsoever. I just pray that God shows you the same compassion that you showed Vanessa, which is none."