VISTA (CNS) - A convicted rapist accused of fatally shooting his wife in front of her two young children on New Year's Day last year sent a text message to a woman hours after the killing, saying he'd left his wife for good, a prosecutor told a jury Thursday.
Dontaye Henderson shot Tamara Henderson -- the mother of his year-old child -- in the chest in their bedroom the morning of Jan. 1, 2011, Deputy District Attorney Keith Watanabe said in his opening statement of Henderson's murder trial.
Watanabe said the defendant shot the 25-year-old woman once in the chest as her 6-year-old daughter and their 1-year-old son watched, then fled. He was captured three days later in St. Louis.
The prosecutor said the main issue in the murder trial would be determining Henderson's intent when his wife was killed.
"This is a case about power and control," Watanabe said.
At the time of the murder, Henderson, 29, was on parole for raping his former wife in 2003. Watanabe said the defendant was verbally and physically abusive toward his former spouse.
Watanabe said Henderson called 911 about 11 a.m. the day of the murder, telling emergency operators that Tamara Henderson -- a reserve in the Army -- had hurt herself.
When a 911 operator called back four minutes later, Henderson said his wife had asthma and couldn't breathe, the prosecutor said.
"She hurt herself real bad," Henderson told the 911 operator.
Emergency personnel arrived to find the victim face up on the bed, with a gunshot wound to the chest. A photo of the defendant covered her chest and a wedding photo covered her groin area. The defendant was gone, Watanabe said.
An unexpended .40-caliber round was found on the floor of the bedroom, according to the prosecutor.
Henderson got a co-worker to drive him around to several ATMs, where he withdrew large amounts of money, Watanabe said.
The defendant got the co-worker to drive him to El Centro, where she dropped him off at a hotel, according to the prosecutor.
Agents found out that Henderson was traveling by bus to Lexington, Ky., and arrested him during a layover in St. Louis.
Henderson told police, "There's gun in the bag. I don't want anyone else to get hurt," according to Watanabe.
According to the defendant's cell phone records, Henderson called a number of women and told them he was unhappy with his wife.
On Dec. 28, 2010, he received nude photos from a woman in Alabama, the prosecutor said.
A few hours after the murder, Henderson texted that woman, saying "I left my wife for good. I'm on my way to see you," Watanabe told the jury.
Defense attorney Jack Campbell said he would give his opening statement at the beginning of the defense case.
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