A Greenwood man was sentenced to 36 years for shooting two people multiple times in 2019.
Jonah S. Henderson, 20, was sentenced to 32 years in an Indiana Department of Corrections facility for one count of attempted murder, a felony tier 1, and four years for one count of criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon, a felony 5 level, in Johnson County Circuit Court on Monday. Henderson had previously been found guilty on both counts in a bench trial presided over by Johnson County Circuit Court Judge Andrew Roesener in July.
For the attempted murder charge, 30 years will be served in prison, while two years will be suspended on probation. For the charge of criminal recklessness, the sentence will be divided equally between incarceration and probation. That sentence will begin after the attempted murder sentence is completed, Roesener said.
Henderson also received 449 days in jail credit and will have to complete the recovery program while incarcerated. As a condition of his probation, he was ordered to undergo drug and mental health treatment.
Henderson has also pleaded guilty to three other cases pending against him, with two of the cases relating to incidents inside the prison and the other to a drug possession charge stemming from his release on bail. He was sentenced to the time served in these cases.
A fourth case, a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief, was dismissed.
The charges stem from an incident that occurred on October 8, 2019 in the Township of White River. Police were dispatched around 11:30 a.m. that day to the 5000 block of Old Smith Valley Road for a report of gunshots. A man told police he was shot by Henderson, according to court documents.
The man told police he met Henderson at the gas station earlier that morning, and he and Henderson exchanged dirty looks. Later, Henderson and a young occupant of the car followed him to a house on Old Smith Valley Road, according to court documents.
It was then that Henderson exited the vehicle and pointed “something” at the man. The man heard several gunshots. One of the bullets shattered the porch glass and a second hit a wall above his head, according to court documents.
Officers at the scene found several bullet holes near the house – including one at head height near the door where the man and a woman were standing – on a cardboard box on the deck near the front door. driveway and in a trash can outside the home, court documents said.
After the shooting, Henderson told detectives he took an Uber to Walmart, where he stole a sweatshirt to conceal his identity. He then took an Uber to his home in Greenwood and drove to Edinburgh, where he was arrested later that day, according to court documents.
Henderson told detectives from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office in an interview that he bought the gun for $200 in Indianapolis, and that he and a minor were going to the gas station when he saw the man and got angry. He told police the man sold him fake marijuana when he was 12, according to court documents.
He also told detectives he shot the man because he was trying to gain “credibility on the street”, according to court documents.
During Henderson’s sentencing hearing on Monday, he read a letter to the court challenging several aspects of the case, including accusing witnesses of altering their testimony. He also said that during this case, along with four other cases also filed against him since October 2019, he dealt with the effects of drug use.
He later also opened up about his juvenile criminal history, saying he was surrounded by teenagers who made things worse for him. Henderson wants the chance to be a good adult and plans to get his GED and later take college classes, he said. He wants to participate in the recovery program while incarcerated, he said.
He said he planned to stay out of trouble and learned from the incident.
Carrie Miles, Henderson’s attorney, asked Roesener to consider Henderson’s age at the time of the incident, as he had just turned 18 when the shooting happened. Henderson has had substance abuse and mental health issues in the past, and mental health treatment has not been effective. He was also using drugs at the time of the shooting, Miles said.
She responded to Henderson’s claim that he was still affected by drugs in prison.
“Just because you’re separated from the ability to use doesn’t mean the brain has changed,” Miles said.
She also said that while Henderson disagreed with the attempted murder conviction, he was sorry for his actions, Miles said.
Prosecutors disagreed with Henderson’s assessment of his case. Under cross-examination, Special Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Maple disputed Henderson’s statement that he was using drugs during the other cases, as he was already in custody at the jail during those. Maple previously worked for the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office and helped Johnson County District Attorney Joe Villaneuva try the case. She is currently an assistant district attorney in Clinton County and returned to Johnson County on Monday to close the case, Villaneuva said.
Maple also disputed Henderson’s statement that he learned his lesson and referred to two phone calls he made from jail after being found guilty on both counts in July. Both appeals were played in open court.
On the first call, he called his accusations “little a**s***”. On the second call, he discussed his plans after his sentencing. Henderson said he planned to get packets of drugs handed over to him and sell them in jail. He did so knowing full well that the call had been recorded, officials said.
“It’s nothing for a thug,” Henderson said in reference to the plan.
Prosecutors also referred to Henderson’s childhood history, saying he had gone through all the programs available in the juvenile system to help him, but instead of considering what he had learned from the programs, he had shot someone. The additional charges against him, along with a history of incidents at Johnson County Jail, also showed he hadn’t learned his lesson, Maple said.
Henderson has also been in disciplinary segregation at the prison for more than a year and has had at least 18 disciplinary reports filed against him since September 2021. The most recent incident, which dates back to last week, makes still under investigation, officials said.
Before handing down the sentence, Roesener told him that he had feared in the past that Henderson might come before him for a serious offense. Henderson had been before Roesener as a miner in the past, and Roesener believed the system had done all it could for him, he said.
Roesener also thought it was easier for Henderson to commit this crime because he might not feel as much remorse for his actions as other people. There was no reason to pull out a gun in this situation unless it was for self-defense, and Henderson tracked down the victim to shoot him, he said.
“For what, Jonas?” Roesner said.
After sentencing, Henderson notified the court of his intention to appeal the conviction and was assigned an attorney for the appeal.