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Wife: Husband Suspected of Killing Children 'Unbalanced'

Posted March 13, 2007

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— A Johnston County woman described her estranged husband as "unbalanced" Monday shortly before deputies found him and the couple's two children dead.

Steven Henry, 35, of Garner, likely shot his 6-year-old daughter, Ashley, and 4-year-old son, Gregory, before turning a gun on himself Monday morning, authorities said. Authorities are awaiting the results of autopsies to confirm the cause of death for all three.

Johnston County Sheriff's Office deputies were responding to a 911 call from Dawn Henry, the children's mother, Monday morning when they found the bodies in Steven Henry's car outside Dawn Henry's house on Vinson Drive, between Clayton and Wilson's Mills.

Steven Henry was in the front seat, and the children were in the back seat, covered by a red sheet, according to a search warrant.

Dawn Henry said she was afraid after seeing her husband's car parked at her house when she returned home. She didn't know he and her children were dead inside the vehicle.

"I am legally separated from my husband, and he is asleep in his car parked in front of my house," Dawn Henry told a 911 dispatcher. "I'm concerned. He is unbalanced. I would like someone to come and tell him to leave. He is asleep in his car in front of my house."

Henry told the dispatcher that her husband didn't show up for a court-ordered mediation session Monday morning.

Investigators said the couple was engaged in a bitter custody battle over their children that attorneys for both sides said began about six weeks ago.

Steven Gregory had picked up the children last Friday and was to keep them until this Friday, authorities said. But Gregory was absent from day care on Monday, and Ashley didn't show up for classes at East Clayton Elementary School.

"It is extremely sensitive," Johnston County Schools spokeswoman Crystal Roberts said of the slayings. "You never get used to it. This is something that you never get used to, and we really just take each situation as it comes."

The couple legally separated last July, and Dawn Henry and her children had been renting the Johnston County house for about six months.

In court documents, she described her husband as aggressive and cold toward their relationship. She said he abused the family's pets, including breaking their dog's leg.

Investigators found two boxes of ammunition inside Steven Henry's house late Monday, according to a search warrant.

Dawn Henry filed for a protective order from her husband in Pender County last September, but the order was dismissed less than two weeks later, according to authorities.

149 Comments

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  • dakota_loves_me Mar 17, 2007

    you know if the mother didnt want him around the kids then why did she let him come and get them in the first place? sounds kind of fishy to me. now that is unbalanced.

  • BigRed Mar 15, 2007

    I come from a family where my dad had guns. He taught us about guns, how to use them correctly. He enjoyed shooting as a hobby and was a member of a gun club. He was also a NRA member. I read a comment that all NRA wanted to do is get rich. No, they want to protect our rights to be able to own a gun if we want to. Bad people will be able to get guns if they want to. It isn't fair for honest people to suffer for others actions. Sounds like this man would have killed his children and himself regardless of what weapon he used. It is a sad story.

  • 07_Bama_Resi Mar 14, 2007

    ProudNativeofNC]] You can go out and kill a family with your vehicle and be driving a new vehicle the next day. Does that sound fair or safe to you anti gun advocates?

    Good point. I've always thought of it this way: If a gun is to blame for the murder, than my pencil/pen is the reason for my mispelled word.

    Anyways, like said before, Keep this family in your prayers.

  • ProudNativeofNC Mar 14, 2007

    Also I would like to make a comment on the fact that a gun had been used. People always want to point the accusing finger at the gun as being the bad guy. Steven had owned that gun for many years never taking it out of the box that it came in. It was for protection and the occasional target practice. As has been mentioned before a little girl got her head 'cut' off not 'shot' off. Also go and ask Susan Smith about her two children that she drowned by driving her car into a lake. Do you want statistics? Go and do a search on how many people die because of automobiles in a years time. You can go out and kill a family with your vehicle and be driving a new vehicle the next day. Does that sound fair or safe to you anti gun advocates? People kill people not the instruments that they decide to use.

  • ProudNativeofNC Mar 14, 2007

    Ok Steven Henry was a really good friend of mine and I would like to clear up a few things that have turned into nasty rumors. First of all the custody of the children was not court ordered, it was a verbal agreement that both husband and wife had agreed upon. The news stated that there was a mediation meeting scheduled for the monday of the tragedy. This mediation was to set the actual custody in stone. Also the breaking of the dogs leg was an accident and not intentional. The dog started to use the bathroom on the floor so he picked the dog up and ran for the door where he tossed the dog onto the porch. Notice I said tossed and not that he had 'thrown' the dog. I guess the dog landed wrong and his leg broke in the landing. This man was a normal everyday man who snapped...point blank. This is a terrible tragedy and I'm sickened at what happened but I believe in the truth. And people should know the whole truth not what the media wants you to see/read.

  • 07_Bama_Resi Mar 14, 2007

    CONT]]] For someone who can answer or assure this.. If you file a restraining order, you can have it dismissed, correct?!? If so, what other reason would it have been dismissed? Lack of proof that he's harming her? Possibly he threatened her. But even then, she could go to the police. I don't know, I'm not assuming anything. But like others have said, something isn't adding up. The family is in my prayers.

  • 07_Bama_Resi Mar 14, 2007

    It boggles my mind how when people do things such as this they are all of a sudden "mentally incompetent" or "chemical imbalanced." All it is an excuse. Just like man from Clayton who decapitated his daughter, who "suffered" from schizophrenia. I'm no psychologist, and yes, maybe if I get mad and want to kill someone one will label me as crazy. People need to stop making excuses for people who do stuff like that. They need to get self-control. Yeah, we all have horrible days, but we have to get over it and move on. Even if this man was a lunatic, why are you going to kill your children. And like some others have pointed out, why would you leave your kids which someone who abused an animal. Yes, he needs to see his children as she also does, but if she KNEW he was "aggresive," why would she want her kids to be with him. Obviously she was okay with it and it was not just a court-ordered act. >>>>

  • Ashen-Shugar Mar 14, 2007

    It does make you wonder, but children? Nothing should push anyone to hurt children.

  • TMWSIY Mar 14, 2007

    We knew this woman personally.....I feel very bad for the loss of her children, but I don't understand all the facts of this case. The news reports that it is a murder suicide and it is cut and dry. Why would you paint your husband as "unbalanced" when you just lost your kids. I would be at Dorthea Dix...losing my mind. The first time we met her she seemed a little odd. We saw her on holloween and she was dressed up as the devil...horns and all. She was seeing mutiple men only months after her separation. I'm not trying to vindicate or justify her husband, but it takes two to tango....something pushed this man over the edge!!

  • mugofstout Mar 14, 2007

    RIBEYE:Ashen- Post some stories where people actually used their gun to protect themselves OR their children.

    All you need to do is pick up one of the NRA's magazine, the American Rifleman, or one of the others.In the front, there is a listing and news story of people from all walks and income levels of life who protect their familes, property, and person from intruders and attackers. You always here about the crazed and criminal gun owners in the liberal media, not responsible nor the courageous. And fools like you are quick to condem firearms...but you all want a cop with a gun to protect you unarmed butt when push comes to shove. As an American, you should be proficient in arms, and ready to protect yourself, not cower and wait for someone else to do it for you. Move to France, you fit the bill.

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