Todd Henry

Todd Henry

According to the Lawrence County court dockets, Todd A. Henry's attorney had petitioned the Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas Wednesday for a reduction in his bond so he could get out of jail.

Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas President Judge Dominick Motto granted the request Thursday, reducing Henry's bond to $50,000 from $200,000. He was freed on bail from the county jail Thursday. He is facing charges in the aftermath of the June 5 shooting death of 19-year-old Amari Wise in the Henry family's garage on New Castle's East side.

Henry, 47, of 918 Adams St., is accused of cleaning up the crime scene and helping dispose of Wise's body in the aftermath of the shooting. Henry's son, Conner Farris Henry, 20, is charged as the gunman who shot Wise in the back of the head and killed him. An autopsy showed Wise died of a single gunshot wound to the back of the head and was ruled a homicide.

According to court papers, President Judge Dominick Motto reduced the elder Henry's bond following a hearing Wednesday. The petition for bond reduction had been filed by county public defender Larry Keith, a s Todd Henry's defense attorney.

The bond petition notes that Henry is a lifelong resident of Lawrence County and has many close ties to the community.

It also states that Henry, as the defendant, intends to appear where and when he is required to, for future proceedings the case against him. 

The filing went uncontested in court by District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa.

Lamancusa commented Friday that bond is not a preventative measure, rather, it is to ensure that someone will show up at future court hearings. 

"One consideration is a defendant's ties to the community," he explained. "The defendant has substantial ties, and is not a flight risk.

"I understand the community's sentiment of seeking to punish him for criminal homicide," Lamancusa continued, "but as an officer of the court, I must rely upon actual evidence and not community sentiment." 

He added that Henry is required to keep his bail bondsman informed of his whereabouts, and he is not allowed to leave the state or the country.

Henry was arrested June 15 after turning himself in to authorities. He is facing charges of criminal attempt at criminal homicide, obstruction of justice and tampering with physical evidence. New Castle police in a criminal complaint reported that Henry was seen power-washing the family's garage the day after the shooting. His car also was seen in the area of El Rio Beach, where Wise's car also was found after his disappearance.

Henry had waived his right to a preliminary hearing on Wednesday. His next court proceeding will be a formal arraignment at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 4 in Motto's courtroom.

Meanwhile, Connor Henry's preliminary hearing has been delayed, pending availability of a court date. He also may have to secure a different attorney.

His current defense attorney of record is Matthew T. Mangino, but Lamancusa on Monday filed a motion in court to disqualify Mangino from representing Connor, claiming there is a conflict of interest because he represented Henry's father when he turned himself in.

A hearing on that matter is to be scheduled for 10:30 a.m. July 2 in common pleas court.

Lamancusa noted in that filing that Mangino had indicated to court personnel that he would be representing Connor Henry for his preliminary hearing. Lamancusa contends that Mangino's representing the younger Henry is a conflict of the rules of professional conduct, and that his representing him "will inevitably lead to post-trial post-conviction relief at issues if Henry is convicted."

Meanwhile, a date for Connor Henry's preliminary hearing is pending the outcome of whom his attorney will be.

He remains in the Lawrence County jail without bond, charged with homicide in Wise's death. He was arrested June 14 in Ocean City, Maryland, where he went after Wise disappeared. Police in Ocean City had communications with the New Castle police, who knew of Connor Henry's whereabouts. New Castle police escorted him back to Lawrence County on June 18 to face his charges.

Wise had been reported missing by his mother, after he left their residence the night of June 5 and did not return or answer her phone calls. Police located his car at El Rio Beach with a gun inside the door. Their investigation led them to learn that a shooting incident had occurred that night during an argument in the Henry's garage. The police served search warrants on the Henrys' garage and cell phones and vehicle, and witnesses emerged to tell about the shooting incident, according to criminal complaints filed in court.

Amidst protests by crowds of people in various areas in New Castle by friends and family of Wise who demanded justice and his whereabouts, the police within a week pieced together evidence and filed charges against both Henrys in connection with Wise's death.

When Connor Henry was arrested June 14, and Todd Henry turned himself in the next day, the whereabouts of Wise was still unknown. Later that afternoon, police and Lamancusa received a tip, and they found Wise's body in an overgrown area at the bottom of a hillside between Pennsylvania Avenue and Big Run. 

dwachter@ncnewsonline.com

Reporter

Debbie's been a journalist at the New Castle News since 1978, and covers county government, police and fire, New Castle schools, environment and various other realms. She also writes features, takes photos and video and copy edits.

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