GREENWOOD, SC – The second suspect in the sexual assault that took place at lander University’s Bearcat Village on March 21st appeared in court Wednesday to enter a guilty plea for his role in the crimes.
Bobby Charles Henderson III appeared before Judge Frank Addy, Jr. at the Greenwood County Courthouse around noon on Wednesday. The judge sentenced Henderson to 18 years in prison on one charge of 1st degree burglary, three charges of kidnapping and three charges of 1st degree criminal sexual conduct.
1st degree burglary carries a sentence of 15 years to life while the kidnapping and 1st degree criminal sexual conduct charges carry sentences up to 30 years each. The Solicitor’s Office, represented in the case by Andrew Hodges, negotiated a cap of 20 years for Henderson’s sentencing.
Henderson and Cameren Jones forcibly entered a dormitory room in Bearcat Village at gunpoint and sexually assaulted three female students around 11 p.m. on the night of March 21st. The three victims were bound with zip ties and duct tape and held at gunpoint while Jones led them one by one to another room and raped them. About 90 minutes later, the university sent out a text message alerting students and faculty to the assault and urging caution.
Lander police arrested Henderson and Jones on March 30th after the alibi that Jones provided was debunked. Henderson gave a full written confession of his involvement in the assault. He maintains that he was unaware of the rapes and was told by Jones that they were going to rob a drug dealer
Henderson gave no excuses for what he did and was frequently seen crying throughout the proceedings. When Judge Addy asked if he had anything to say, Henderson replied, “I’m just so, so sorry.” Multiple family members spoke on his behalf, all of them apologizing to the victims and their families and acknowledging that Henderson had to “be a man” and accept the consequences of his actions.
Two of the victims and their mothers spoke and told the judge to have no mercy on Henderson. All of them spoke through tears and described some of the emotional trauma that they have faced since the assaults occurred. One of the victims summed up their request for no mercy, saying, “I would really ask that you show no mercy and think about the mercy they showed us that night.”
Judge Addy spoke to Henderson prior to handing down the sentence, telling Henderson that he could not understand what led him down this road.
“What happened and what you did that night is completely baffling and this has never happened to me before where I’m at a loss for words,” Judge Addy told Henderson. “Up until the evening of March 21st, you led a life that, as a parent, would make me proud if my kids had done half as well as you have done. There is no explanation for this and I cannot conceive of how you could have taken this turn that evening and done what you did.”
Henderson’s attorney, Druanne White, echoed Judge Addy’s sentiments about how baffling Henderson’s actions were that night. When Judge Addy asked Henderson how it happened, Henderson opened his mouth to speak, but failed to find words to answer the question.
Judge Addy sentenced Henderson to 18 years in prison, of which Henderson must serve at least 15 years and three months. Henderson will be transferred to a state correctional facility to serve his sentence on Friday. He was given credit for the 265 days he has already served while awaiting trial.