Bradyna Henson’s 14-year-old son found his mother’s lifeless, bullet-hole-riddled body in their Maryland home more than a year ago, and finally this week, after what Henson’s family called a “long journey,” the man was charged with murder Henson sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.
Tavon Howard, 30, received the sentence Monday from Judge Vicki Ballou-Watts in District Court in Baltimore, Maryland.
“Your heart seems so callous. That’s what comes across,” Ballou-Watts reportedly told Howard before learning his fate Baltimore Sun.
Howard did not speak in court Monday, but some of his views were still expressed. Someone preparing his sentencing report read one of Howard’s comments into the record.
“I didn’t do anything… I was framed,” he said.
Members of the victim’s family reportedly looked at Howard with confusion and disgust. After delivering victim impact statements, Judge Ballou-Watts reiterated to the Baltimore man that his criminal background, coupled with his conduct in court, viewed her as someone incapable of rehabilitation.
According to court documents viewed online by Law&Crime, in addition to the murder charge against Bradyna Henson, Ballou-Watts also sentenced Howard to 25 years in prison for two weapons offenses.
Henson’s relatives, including her mother and sisters, told the court that Henson’s now 15-year-old son was struggling in school and struggling to cope with the loss of his mother, who he found shot in the head, chest and neck have.
Henson’s sister, Candies Henson, addressed Howard directly on Monday and was in disbelief at his behavior.
Candies Henson reportedly said her sister “did everything for him” while the two were dating.
“You know she did it,” Candies Henson pleaded.
Henson had broken up with Howard before killing her in the early hours of April 13, 2022. Howard had abused Henson in the past, her family said, and their relationship was described by family members as “tumultuous” for about a decade.
“I feel like in relationships you should move on when someone doesn’t want you or when there’s some kind of animosity and you can’t come to an agreement or find a solution to a healthy, positive relationship,” says Henson’s relative Deborah Powell told the local NBC affiliate WBAL. “And he didn’t want that.”
According to an ABC affiliate, surveillance footage was released in court by prosecutors WMAR, showed it at Henson’s home in Essex, Maryland, on the morning of her shooting. It would be two more days before police arrested him, and only after a police car chase ensued through Baltimore. When officers finally arrested Howard, they found the gun used to murder Henson, as well as firearms and drugs in his vehicle. WBAL reported.
“This is a tragedy in every way. “This was an execution,” Judge Ballou-Watts said as she handed down the sentence.
Henson’s mother told reporters gathered outside the courthouse in Baltimore that she felt some sense of relief.
“I’m happy. It’s over for my family. We’ve been waiting for this. We’ve been talking about it for a long time,” she said.
Maryland Attorney General Adam Lippe reflected on the tragedy of Henson’s decision to let Howard into her home that morning.
Henson had legally purchased a handgun to protect herself from Howard and told her family about it. But when Howard came to her house and walked in, it didn’t help her.
“She had a legally licensed handgun and when that happened he knocked on her door around two in the morning, she let him in. She made a fatal mistake,” Lippe said.
Howard will appear in court again in April on additional drug and weapons charges. Public defender Dionti Slack Jr. represented him in the matter, but it is unclear who will represent him in the next case. Slack Jr. immediately responded to a request for comment on Tuesday.
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