Saturday, April 27, 2013

 

SC woman pleads guilty, mentally ill in 4 slayings


Susan Hendricks of South Carolina accepted a plea bargain and admitted she killed four members of her family.



 South Carolina killings: Susan Hendricks.

PICKENS, S.C. — A South Carolina woman admitted Friday she was guilty of killing four members of her family but was mentally ill at the time she gunned down her two sons, her ex-husband and her stepmother.
Susan Hendricks, 49, accepted a life sentence in a plea bargain with prosecutors. Authorities had said Hendricks tried to make the crime scene look like one of her sons killed the others in 2011 before he committed suicide. They said she stood to gain about $700,000 worth of life insurance policies.
A prosecutor said Friday that was one of many motives and authorities will likely never know why she killed her relatives because of her mental problems.
The gun used in all four slayings was found beside 23-year-old Matthew Hendricks. Investigators said Susan Hendricks told deputies her son was suicidal. She also led them to a note in the kitchen. Prosecutors said the note didn't appear to be in her handwriting, but have not released its contents.
Hendricks' story crumbled when authorities began testing for gunpowder residue. None of the powder left from firing a gun was found on the son's body or clothes, while the residue was found all over her clothes.
A psychologist testifying for Hendricks' defense team, David Price, said Friday that Hendricks suffered severe post-traumatic stress disorder from extensive childhood sexual abuse before she left home at 14. Hendricks was abused by both of her parents, who also let others abuse her, Price said.
"This is the worst I've ever seen," Price said.
Price said she suffers from multiple personality disorder and while Hendricks' main personality could differentiate right from wrong, another personality was in action the night of the murders.
Hendricks declared bankruptcy in 2007. She told lawyers in that proceeding that she received $115,000 from her father's life insurance, but spent and gave it away in just months because she was under so much mental stress from taking care of him in his final years. She said she kept $100,000 cash in her bathroom closet for a while because she didn't care for the money.
The killings took place in two homes in Liberty in northwest South Carolina. At Hendricks' home, deputies found Matthew Hendricks shot in the head in his bed with a gun on a table beside him. Susan Hendricks' stepmother, 64-year-old Linda Burns, was found in her bedroom, a trail of blood leading to her bed from the living room. She was shot in the stomach.
Next door, authorities found the bodies of her 52-year-old ex-husband Mark Hendricks, and her other son, 20-year-old Marshall Hendricks. Both had been shot in the chest.
It wasn't the first deadly shooting in Susan Hendricks' home.
In April 2006, authorities said Doyle "Brian" Teague, 36, was killed by Hendricks after entering her home uninvited. Hendricks claimed self-defense, and deputies said they never had enough evidence to file criminal charges.

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