Michael Henderson arrested in 1987 slaying of wife in D.C.

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Local,DC,Crime,Scott McCabe

A Georgia man has been arrested in the stabbing death of his wife in the District of Columbia more than 25 years ago.

Michael Henderson, 52, was taken into custody Wednesday in Rockdale, Ga., and charged with second-degree murder while armed in the 1987 slaying of his estranged wife Cheryl A. Henderson. Michael Henderson was being held in a federal facility in Atlanta and awaiting extradition to Washington.

Michael Henderson had been previously convicted of his wife's death, but the conviction was overturned by a D.C. appeals court in 1993 because the trial judge allowed prosecutors to introduce an audiotaped statement Michael Henderson made to police, but did not allow the defense to play additional portions of the tape.

Cheryl Henderson, 21, had moved to the District from rural Virginia at the end of 1986 to start a new life. She began dating 27-year-old Ronnie Bankhead, moved into his family's house and got a job as cleaning woman at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Michael Henderson soon moved to the District, got a job as a construction worker and lived with his uncle, according to court records.

On the night of June 23, 1987, Henderson left work for a dinner break but never returned to finish her shift. Her body was found the next morning behind the Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church by a 10-year-old girl on her way to Bible class. Cheryl Henderson had been stabbed 45 times.

In May, a D.C. grand jury indicted Henderson after authorities said they had new evidence.

smccabe@washingtonexaminer.com

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Scott McCabe

Staff Writer - Crime
The Washington Examiner