A mother and son have been sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of murdering a witness to the robbery of a marijuana dispensary in Denver, Colorado. The duo discovered the witness's identity due to a paperwork error at court.
Tina Black and her son, Terance Black, were convicted of first-degree murder after deliberation and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder after deliberation at a joint trial that began on Jan. 22. The two had been accused of killing David Henderson, who witnessed a robbery of Cure Dispensary on Aug. 14, 2016.
The Blacks fired 10 shots at Henderson outside of his mother's home, according to The Washington Post.
Prosecutors say the Blacks were accidentally sent un-redacted information about Henderson.
George Brauchler, the attorney for the 18th Judicial District, explained the error.
"In some ways, this was a perfect storm of different events that took place. There were a number of affidavits on a number of cases that were sent out, but they were sent to a number of people who would never dream of trying to murder the witnesses against them. It just happened to reach the group willing to do it in this case," Brauchler told KVDR, a Denver, Colorado-based Fox affiliate.
Henderson had previously feared for his safety after receiving threats against his life. Brauchler posthumously applauded his service to the community.
"[The Blacks] initially made some threats, came to him, there was a gun put in his face, threatened if he would continue to cooperate, it would result in the loss of his life. That had a profound effect on him, but not so much that it overwhelmed his sense of duty and righteousness. He moved forward and died as a result," said Brauchler.
An investigation into the error revealed that 1,500 cases in a one-year period statewide were accidentally released to incorrect recipients, according to The Denver Post. Brauchler assured that the error that caused the release has since been corrected.
Henderson had been hired via Craigslist as a mechanic to work on the Blacks' vehicle, exposing him to their crime ring.
“I’ll kill both of y’all,” Black told Henderson and another, unnamed witness.
Karen Henderson-Atkins, the victim's sister, was present at court during the trial.
"It's important I go public and talk about it, because I want people to know they can’t get away with this. You should never threaten a witness and you should never murder a witness," said Henderson-Atkins.
The Blacks had maintained their innocence throughout the trial.
“Where’s the justice? I lose my son and you lose your son,” said Tina. Her defense attorney plans on appealing the court's decision.
The duo was sentenced on Feb. 21. Court records have been sealed to protect other witnesses.
[Photo: Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office/AP]
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