Wayne Henderson

Police records say Wayne and his girlfriend were in Reno, Nevada when Ray and Angie were killed in California.


Original account by Wayne Henderson

Edited by Clara A. Thomas Boggs

You've been traveling cross-country, just a leisurely "working vacation" by car. You stop in San Francisco, and agree to temporarily split rent with what seems like a nice young couple.

Unfortunately, it turns out that these two, the "nice young couple" have criminal records, are selling "crank" (methamphetamine) out of the apartment and, worse yet, owe a major chunk of change to local biker gangs. In the meantime, your car has been towed for a parking violation, you're strapped for cash to get it out of hock, and death threats from the biker step-uglies are flying as thick as divorce lawyers in Tijuana.

You finally acquire transportation -- the nice young couple agree to trade their broken-down panel truck to you in lieu of repaying you for covering half of the rent, let alone the pizza delivery bills -- so you gladly leave 'Frisco behind and head back East, to civilization. Sometime in the next few days after you leave, your roomies end up very dead.

There are numerous witnesses to the death threats. One of them is a known police informant who lived with the "nice young couple" before you did, and got out when the death-threats began. The money disputes between your ex-roomies and the biker step-uglies is common knowledge, and one of the killers was gracious (and stupid) enough to leave his fingerprint, in engine grease, on one of the bodies. While you could reasonably expect to be called as a material witness, you're expecting that the strongest impacts of this on your own life will be 1) to keep you from ever even considering involvement in retail crank sales and, 2) to make you very happy that you got the hell out of 'Frisco when you did. You understand being asked to be called because you're one of several witnesses to an altercation in which one of your roomies got the crap beat out of him by a creditor, and another in which the same creditor smacked the same roomie over the head with a wooden cane, and you're obviously broken up about your roomies' deaths since you spent Xmas partying with them, and now they're in the morgue.

Except for a possible appearance as a witness, your involvement in all this is over, right? 'Fraid not...not by a long shot.

Wayne Henderson

My name is Wayne Henderson. I'm a writer. You might've read some of my work in any number of 'zines, DHARMA COMBAT, STEAMSHOVEL PRESS, and Donna Kossy's KOOKS, among them. In addition to that, I'm also currently a "guest" of the Hotel Kalifornia, and have been incarcerated here for sixteen years now. Why? Read on, and you tell ME.

"Cabin" by Wayne Henderson  

I've lived the situation I've just described. My girlfriend and I were the ones who got the hell out of 'Frisco on January 12 1982, and the "nice young couple," Ray and Angie, were alive and well -- if somewhat stressed by their biker creditors -- when we left. Angie talked to the landlord on the phone on the afternoon of January 13, more than 24 hours after we'd left California. Our neighbors in the front apartment, Ron and Carol, had seen Ray and Angie in and around the place as late as the weekend, January 16-17. Ron and Carol had also witnessed one of the death-threats from the biker step-uglies, made against everyone in the house.

The 'Frisco police themselves proved our whereabouts. They placed us in Reno, Nevada at 1:30 PM, on January 12, 1982, 24 hours before one of our alleged victims spoke to the landlord on the phone. We didn't return to California until the cops dragged us there, months later.

So why were we arrested? Again, you tell me. All the witnesses told the cops about the death threats, the drug debts, and how we'd been included in those threats just because we shared an apartment and partied with Ray and Angie. It's beyond obvious that we weren't even in California when the murders occurred, and wouldn't have any reason to kill people who, for whatever faults they might've had, certainly knew how to party. But it gets weirder, much weirder. 

"Hotel Kalifornia" by Wayne Henderson

After repeated visits from the cops, witnesses either changed their stories -- disagreeing wildly with their recorded initial statements, even to the point of stating impossibilities -- or suffered odd and inexplicable memory loss.

The murder bullet, a .22 slug showing no rifling (and therefore likely fired by Ray's own .22 pistol, which has never been found) is now shown to be altered, and the alteration is documented, in the hope that it can be made to fit the "class of characteristics" of a .22 rifle I'd sold to a friend in Florida. The alteration, it should be noted, was not altogether successful, so the prosecution was forced to admit in a rare moment of candor that the bullet couldn't really be matched to the rifle in question.

Remember the fingerprint? The cops took our fingerprints more than 20 times after the arrest, from every conceivable angle and with every possible pattern of smudging. In the end, it was painfully obvious, even to the cops, that the fingerprint belonged to somebody else. So what do they do? Check the print against their extensive files? Not hardly. They ignored it. At one point, the prosecutor even told the jury that fingerprints aren't good evidence. Remember that, if your fingerprint ever shows up where it oughtn't to be.

Even after the cops had trampled every stick of evidence in their path, we were still able to amass enough evidence to prove our innocence or, at the very least, to expose the gaping holes in the cops' story. Too bad for us that all our evidence was invariably excluded by a "prosecution friendly" judge, no matter how relevant it was. On the other hand, the cops and prosecution were allowed to present rank speculation as though it were evidence, perjure themselves, and violate Federal law and rules of evidence, without restriction. No, I'm NOT just making this up. You can see the proof for yourself.

The jury never got to hear anything but what the cops and prosecution wanted them to hear, and it's taken sixteen years of life and death struggle with the California legal system to finally file a petition for writ of habeas corpus with the state supreme court. Now, even with the proof in front of them, they continue to drag their feet.

If I sound like some bitter prisoner shouting "I didn't do it," I've got to admit that's a fair assessment. Unlike the popular image, however, I have proof -- evidence not only of my own innocence, but also of the illegalities committed by a small clique of politically ambitious cops and prosecutors. Sixteen years. Ray and Angie have been dead for sixteen years. I've been locked up, and the actual killers have walked free for sixteen years. While one of the prosecutors, William Fazio, proved to be too dirty even for his buddies, and was forced out of the DA's office during an unsuccessful bid to become DA himself, another prosecutor, James McBride, is now a municipal court judge. Interesting occupation for a man who forged a subpoena duces tecum form, then crossed several state boundaries in order to illegally access my medical records (a Federal crime). The cops, Prentice Sanders and Napolean Hendrix (yes, Napolean really is his name) are still cops; both perjured themselves, and continue to make arrests. Sanders has even been promoted to Deputy Chief of Police.

"Self Portrait" by Wayne Henderson

Why should you care? There are others who've been in similar situations, people you've heard about: Clarence Chance and Benny Powell, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Geronimo Pratt, and others who have the backing of an enviable media machine to get their stories out. Geronimo Pratt, whom I've met, in prison, owes his freedom to FM 94 KPFA radio in Berkeley, California, a station I listen to almost every day. Clarence Chance and Benny Powell had the help of Rev. James McClosky of Centurion Ministries. In my home state, New Jersey, I have no such backing. I've got to hope that I can pique the interest of someone out there who will be both willing and able to actually look at the evidence I've amassed -- proof of police perjury, subornation of perjury; witness, evidence, and jury tampering; and judicial misconduct -- and lend a hand.

I've got to hope that you will be concerned enough about your own safety to get involved.After all, if they can do it to me, they can do it to you.

John E. Dupont, O.J. Simpson, John and Patsy Ramsey, and those like them have automatic access to the best lawyering money can buy; even on those rare occasions when their behavior is too obvious and too reprehensible to avoid scrutiny, they never pay the price. On the other side of it, when poor folks like you and me are accused, our innocence buys us nothing. We don't have a Johnny Cochran for the defense. We only have each other.

If you can help in any way with publicity, legal assistance, or moral support, contact C.G. Hodges at lynxmist@webtv.net. If you're seriously able to help, we can lend you a copy of the proof on disc. There is no need to take my word for it when you can see the evidence and judge for yourself.

Consider this: if only 5% of all prisoners in this country are wrongly incarcerated, we have 85,000 innocent people behind bars. I'm one of them, and if cops like Sanders and Hendrix, and prosecutors like Fazio and McBride aren't stopped, YOU could be next!


{Editor's note: There is a great deal more material from Wayne Henderson, both in our offices and available from Wayne. The most compelling fact of this story is that Wayne and his girlfriend were in Nevada when the killing happened. We urge you to ask for more information from everyone whose story appears in Justice: Denied, and to help some of these prisoners if you can.}

Contact C. Gail Hodges at: Justice Denied