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Crime News Snapped: Killer Couples

Teen Plotted Mom’s Brutal Murder With 13-Year-Old Brother and Boyfriend: “Darkness Inside Her”

The murder of Susan Bailey was sparked by a complicated relationship among teenagers that involved threesomes and drinking each other's blood.

By Caitlin Schunn

The gory and vicious murder of a single mother shocked the residents of the small town of Roanoke, Texas in September 2008. But even more shocking was the realization that 43-year-old Susan Bailey’s two teenagers, 17-year-old Jennifer and 13-year-old David, were behind the bloody rampage, along with Jennifer’s boyfriend, 16-year-old Paul Henson.

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“This young, timid, frail girl transformed in front of my eyes,” Tracy Murphree, Denton Co. Sheriff, said on Snapped: Killer Couples, airing Sundays at 6/5c on Oxygen. “I’d never seen anything like it. She looked up at me. It was evil … If she could have come across the table and hurt me she would have done it at that time. We were dealing with a killer.”

The other twist? Another 14-year-old girl was in on the teenagers’ plot to kill their parents, run away to Canada, and start a commune.

How did four teenagers end up trying to kill their parents and start a new life?

What happened to Susan Bailey?

On Sept. 26, 2008, Susan Bailey’s co-workers reached out to her emergency contact — her mother — when she failed to show up for work, and they were unable to find her. Susan’s mother, who was also unable to contact her daughter or grandchildren, Jennifer and David, called Roanoke, Texas police.

Authorities went to the home for a welfare check that evening, but no one answered. The Baileys' car was gone, and there were no signs of forced entry.

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The next morning, Susan’s mother called officers again when she was still unable to reach her daughter and grandkids, but with nothing out of place at the house, police were still not able to enter.

But two days later, an officer in Yankton, South Dakota — 725 miles north of Roanoke — spotted a car with Texas plates trying to get gas around 3:30 a.m. Filled with three teenagers and in violation of curfew laws, he pulled the driver over. The license plates came back to match Susan Bailey.

Inside the car were Paul Henson, Jennifer Bailey, and David Bailey. No one in the car had a driver’s license. Yankton officers contacted Roanoke police.

“They told me that the Bailey kids were in South Dakota,” Brian Peterson, former Roanoke police detective, said on Snapped: Killer Couples. “I told them, I said, ‘Something bad happened. There’s no way Susan would let those kids go off on their own.’”

Susan Bailey featured on Snapped: Killer Couples Episode 1714

Roanoke police now had a reason to enter the Bailey house. When they did, the smell of a dead body was overwhelming.

“It was a slaughterhouse,” Murphree said. “It was Susan, laying face down. She’d been there a couple of days at least. There’s blood everywhere … on the walls … on the door … soaked into the carpet. It’s horrific … it was a very violent death.”

Police said Susan Bailey had been stabbed and her throat slashed. She also appeared to have been beaten with a baseball bat. The autopsy report showed 26 stab wounds.

To the horror of authorities, there also appeared to be signs there were attempts to kill Susan in other manners, including in an upstairs bathtub with standing water that had a frayed electrical cord hanging from the shower curtain. A cup of pudding with crushed up Tylenol had also been left out in the kitchen.

There had been attempts to clean up and cover up the crime. Three cell phones and a knife were found in the bathtub water. The house also smelled of bleach, and a Walmart receipt was found for cleaning supplies.

When police looked at Walmart’s security footage, it showed David Bailey riding up to the store on his bike, buying the cleaning items, and biking home with the bag.

How did Jennifer Bailey and Paul Henson's relationship play a role in her mother's murder?

As authorities looked into Paul Henson, they found he had been reported missing by his parents on Sept. 23, 2008, three days before Susan Bailey’s murder. Police had come by the Bailey house to talk to Susan and Jennifer, Paul’s girlfriend.

“Susan’s thoughts about Paul was, she didn’t like Paul,” Murphree said. “Paul’s a strange kid, and Susan didn’t want him around. She didn’t want Jennifer seeing Paul.”

Jennifer claimed she had broken up with Paul. But when police looked around the house, they found both Jennifer and Paul had packed suitcases stored in Jennifer’s room.

Jennifer Bailey and Paul Hensons featured on Snapped: Killer Couples Episode 1714

"I’m really pissed,” Susan said on recorded police audio. “You tell me you break up with him — you just wanna be friends — and I think you did it just so I would leave you alone. I told you he was bad news.”

After the murder, police found evidence that Jennifer and Paul were planning to run away together.

“In Jennifer’s room, we find a piece of paper she’d written on,” Murphree said. “And part of it was talking about a new life with Paul in Canada.”

When police interviewed Paul Henson, he blamed the murder on David, and said they all fled to protect him.

“The officers asked David, ‘What are you here for?’” Donna Fielder, a true crime author, said on Snapped: Killer Couples. “David said, ‘Oh I’m here for murdering my mama.’ And he giggled. And the officers, they were absolutely horrified. They could not believe those words came out of that child’s mouth.”

Murphree, who interviewed David, added, “We weren’t dealing with a normal 13-year-old kid here.”

Jennifer, meanwhile, put all of the blame on Paul, and said she and her brother did nothing wrong.

Who was 14-year-old "Merrilee" and how did her confession help police solve the murder?

As police searched Jennifer Bailey’s room, they found a purse with a high school ID in it belonging to a “Merrilee” (a pseudonym used by police and prosecutors to protect her identity). Officers discovered “Merrilee” was in a nearby juvenile detention center for trying to stab and kill her mother in bed the night of Sept. 23 — the same day Paul Henson was reported missing and several days before Susan Bailey was murdered.

“It sent some chills down my spine,” Murphree said. “This is why she’s in a juvenile detention center. We have Susan here dead. And it was bigger than what we thought.”

“Merrilee” was granted immunity by prosecutors in exchange for her testimony to help police figure out what happened.

“’Merrilee’ divulged that there was a plan, and she blamed it on Jennifer coming up with the idea to kill her mom,” Peterson said.

The teen explained that she, Jennifer, and Paul were all in a relationship. She also shared that she was dating “Talos,” Paul’s violent alter ego, while Jennifer was dating Paul.

“He convinced them that he wasn’t cheating on either one of them, because one of his girlfriends was in love with Talos and the other was in love with Paul,” Fielder said. “And they bought that. They became intimate as a threesome. Paul liked to have sex with both girls and he liked to watch them have sex with each other.”

The relationship among the three teens went further than just sex.

“They were into kinda dark mysticism, fantasy games, all this cultic-like fantasy world,” Peterson said. “One of the things they would do a lot of is they would cut each other on the back and then they would drink each other’s blood, or let Paul drink their blood.”

“Merrilee” said the plan, concocted by Jennifer, was to kill all of their parents, flee to Canada, and start a commune.

“They believed they had to stay together or they would not be together in their next life,” Fielder said.

Based on “Merrilee”’s testimony and the evidence, police believe Jennifer Bailey ambushed her mother coming down the hallway with a baseball bat, while Paul Henson slit her throat from behind. They also believe David Henson helped to kill his mother based on shallow stab wounds found on her body.

“All three participated. All three stabbed her. All three planned her death,” Murphree said. “And I believe all three are equally responsible … they planned to kill Susan, take her car, and then go live happily ever after.”

In 2009, Jennifer and David Bailey, as well as Paul Henson, all pled guilty to the murder of Susan Bailey.

“I think the bottom line is Jennifer Bailey manipulated Paul into doing her bidding,” Murphree said. “He would have done anything for her. And he did do anything for her.”

Jennifer Bailey and Paul Henson were sentenced to 60 years in prison. They’ll be eligible for parole in 2038. David Henson was sentenced to 26 years in prison. He’ll be released in 2034 when he’s 40.

“The murder of Susan Bailey is tragic in so many ways,” said Jamie Beck, Denton County prosecutor, on Snapped: Killer Couples. “These kids were well cared for and loved by their mother. And she poured her whole life into them. And for them to not only take her life, but to take it in such a brutal, brutal fashion, it’s really just evil.”

Watch all-new episodes of Snapped: Killer Couples on Sundays at 6/5c on Oxygen or the next day on Peacock.

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