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The accused killer of former Lakeland City Commissioner Edie Yates Henderson and her husband David Henderson was in court Friday morning for a status hearing, with his trial tentatively scheduled to begin in January.
Marcelle Jerrill Waldon, 38, walked into court wearing orange Polk County Jail scrubs. He occasionally leaned on the empty jury box wall as his lawyers and the assistant state attorney spoke for less than five minutes in courtroom 7A at the Bartow courthouse.
Investigators say Waldon watched David Henderson’s car leave their Lake Morton home the morning of Nov. 12, 2020, walked into an unlocked back door, grabbed a knife from the kitchen and forced Edie Yates Henderson, 67, to write two $5,000 checks to him before killing her. When David Henderson, 63, returned home about half an hour later with the couple’s breakfast from Fat Jack’s – a daily ritual — investigators say Waldon killed him, too. The couple’s bodies were found that evening in their bedroom by a Lakeland Police officer doing a welfare check requested by her adult son, Todd Bayliss, according to police reports. Their breakfast remained in the Fat Jack’s bag on the kitchen table and the gas stove’s burners were all turned to high, with police speculating Waldon tried to burn down the house.
Investigators also say Waldon tried to cash one of the checks at Amscot on Memorial Boulevard that day using his own identification and fingerprint. And they say Waldon stole some of her jewelry, his credit cards, both their cell phones and his white Audi A6. The knife used in the murder has not been found.
“We’re set for trial Jan. 15,” Waldon’s lawyer Daniel Hernandez of Tampa told Judge Kevin Abdoney.
Assistant State Attorney Paul Wallace, who has worked for the State Attorney’s office for more than 40 years and is in charge of the office’s homicide division, filled in for Mark Levine on Friday. Wallace said the defense filed motions not yet placed on the docket. Regardless, he said, his office should be ready for trial by January.
“We’re on track at this time,” Wallace said. “There’s always the possibility that some issue could arise.”
The state is seeking the death penalty in this case. Criminal justice experts say it is typical for a case of this nature to take several years to go to trial as both sides gather evidence, depose witnesses, and arrange for experts.
Waldon also faces charges of burglarizing the home of Publix heiress Julie Fancelli two days prior to the double murder that shocked the Lake Morton neighborhood.
The next status hearing is scheduled for June 9 at 8:30 a.m.
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Always well done and on point.
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