Woman sentenced to life in prison without parole for 2015 Madison County murders

Alabama News
Christmas Day
December 25 2021 12:00 am

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — A woman charged with capital murder in connection with the deaths of five people in New Market was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole Wednesday.

Rhonda Carlson, husband of convicted mass murderer Christopher Henderson, agreed to testify against Henderson to avoid the death penalty prior to Henderson’s trial.

Henderson, who was sentenced to death in October, never divorced Carlson before marrying Kristen Smallwood, one of the five victims in the 2015 murders.

Carlson testified that Henderson had already attacked all five victims by the time she entered the New Market home where the murders took place.

Erin Atkins, Carlson’s attorney discussed her client’s sentence with News 19 Monday.

“She certainly acknowledges and accepts responsibility for her portion and the crime, which is why we’ve agreed to a plea. She acknowledges that she was involved, she acknowledges that she had a part to play and that she can be held legally responsible for the deaths based on Alabama law. “That means that there are no loopholes, there’s no possibility for her to get out,” she said. “A lot of people think life without parole means there might be a chance that they could still get out, not life without parole, not in Alabama. So she is going to be in prison for the rest of her life, she will never see the light of day. That is because she had a substantial part in the events. We believe that she just wasn’t as culpable as he was. We believe that he kind of led or masterminded the event.”

Attorney Erin Atkins

As part of the plea deal, Carlson waived her right to a jury trial and separate sentencing hearing.

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