Father waives hearing in Wise death case

Todd A. Henry

Todd A. Henry, accused of cleaning up the crime scene after the June 5 shooting death of 19-year-old Amari Wise, has an added charge to the existing counts against him.

The police also withdrew a charge against him of criminal conspiracy to commit homicide, acknowledging Henry was not in the family's garage at 918 Adams St. when Wise was shot in the head.

Instead, police have charged the 47-year-old Henry with hindering apprehension by concealing or destroying evidence. In addition to hosing down the family's garage, he is accused of helping to hide Wise's body. 

Henry’s 20-year-old son, Connor Farris Henry, is accused of shooting Wise in the back of the head. He is awaiting a preliminary hearing set for 1 p.m Aug. 17 in the Lawrence County courts. He remains in the Lawrence County jail without bond, charged with criminal homicide and tampering with physical evidence.

Charges were filed June 13 against both Connor Henry and his father, a week after Wise was reported missing by his mother. New Castle police in investigating Wise's disappearance received clues that led them to believe that something had happened to the teen, and that it happened in the Henry family's garage. Within a week, they pieced together enough evidence to charge both Henrys.

Connor Henry was arrested June 14, in Ocean City, Maryland, after police there received information that he was wanted in New Castle on a homicide charge. He was extradited back to New Castle.

Todd Henry turned himself in to the New Castle police the next day. Hours later — on June 15 — Wise's body was found after Lawrence County District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa received a tip that it had been dumped at the bottom of a hillside at the banks of Big Run off of Pennsylvania Avenue in Shenango Township.

A witness reported seeing Todd Henry power-washing his garage the day after Wise vanished, according to accounts filed in court by police. In addition to the new charge of hindering apprehension, he still faces his original charges of obstruction of justice and tampering with physical evidence. He posted bail on a $200,000 bond on June 25 and was released from jail.

He waived his right to a formal arraignment on all of his charges Tuesday in the Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas and is awaiting trial.

During the course of the investigation into Wise’s disappearance, witnesses told city police that the younger Henry shot Wise following an argument in the family’s garage the night of June 5, the criminal complaint states. Police reported that cameras detected Todd Henry’s car traveling on a road to El Rio Beach later during the night, and the car Wise had been driving also was found there with a gun in the side door pocket.

As police worked to try to solve the crime that week in June before Wise's body was found, various protests were staged in town by friends, family and supporters of Wise, demanding to know his whereabouts and seeking justice for him. Local search groups had joined the police efforts in trying to find him.

A forensic autopsy performed on Wise at Heritage Valley Health System in Beaver County determined that he died from a single gunshot wound to the back of the head. Lawrence County Coroner Rich “R.J.” Johnson has ruled the cause of death as a homicide. He said that Wise already was dead when his body was deposited, and that the single gunshot would have killed him instantly.

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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