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Judge certifies murder charge, firearms charge to jury in Fredericksburg case
BY KEITH EPPS
A dispute involving a handicapped man apparently led to the death of city resident Nathaniel Dywayne Henderson, according to court testimony.
Henderson, 35, was shot in the head and killed April 7 during an early morning gathering at his residence in the Central Park Townhomes, formerly known as Bragg Hill.
The man accused of killing him, Tyrone Tomeka Johnson, is charged with first-degree murder and using a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Judge John R. Stevens certified the charges to a grand jury Thursday following a preliminary hearing in Fredericksburg General District Court.
According to Detective Doug Perkins, at least 11 people were at a gathering at Henderson's home when the shooting took place.
Johnson, according to the testimony, had gotten annoyed with a man at the home and told Henderson to ask him to leave.
During the ensuing altercation, Henderson was shot in the head.
Perkins said Johnson, 35, told him the man was annoying people by doing such things as unscrewing light bulbs, throwing paper and eating chicken.
Henderson's body was discovered about 3:30 a.m. by a friend who came after receiving a call that Henderson was in trouble, police said.
By the time the friend arrived, everyone else was gone and Henderson was on the floor bleeding.
Police said none of the people at the gathering called police or the rescue squad after leaving Henderson's home.
Perkins said that after police arrested Johnson, he gave three different stories about the altercation.
At first, he said he left the home before it happened and wasn't involved. He later said he retrieved the gun and shot Henderson after the victim charged at him, Perkins said.
Johnson later took police to the Rappahannock River in the area of the City Dock, where he'd thrown the gun after the shooting. Divers found it.
As is customary in a preliminary hearing, defense attorney Andy Cornick put on no evidence.
But he did ask Stevens to reduce the charge to second-degree murder, arguing that there was no evidence that the slaying was premeditated.
Prosecutor Kevin Gross disagreed, and Stevens certified the first-degree murder charge.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404