Accused Wife Killer Pleads Not Guilty

Oceanside man allegedly murdered wife in front of child

By Michael Gehlken
|  Wednesday, Jan 26, 2011  |  Updated 4:30 PM PDT
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Accused Wife Killer Pleads Not Guilty

NBC San Diego

Dontaye Henderson, 28, pleaded not guilty on Jan. 26, 2011. Among the charges, the Oceanside native is accused of murdering wife Tamara Henderson in front of their 6-year-old daughter on New Year's Day.

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An Oceanside man accused of shooting his wife to death in front of their 6-year-old daughter on New Year's Day pleaded not guilty Wednesday in an arraignment that brought new case details to light.

Dontaye Henderson, 28, faces 96 years to life, and bail was set at $10 million.

After the alleged murder of Tamara Henderson, 26, the parolee and registered sex offender fled to St. Louis where he was detained Jan. 4 at a Greyhound bus terminal in St. Louis en route to Lexington, KY. U.S. Marshalls used Henderson's cell phone to find him after his parole-required GPS tracking device was found in a hotel laundry basket near the crime scene.

The victim was a reservist in the U.S. Army.

Deputy District Attorney Keith Watanbe said Tamara was aware of her husband's criminal history, which included a prior conviction for spousal rape. She called her mother, Alsie Billups, the night before her death to say she believed her husband was going to kill her.

Along with a daughter who officers said witnessed her mother's murder, the couple had a 1-year-old son who was also in the area. Billups is currently caring for them both.

Henderson is charged with murdering his wife, two counts of child endangerment, possession of a firearm, and kidnapping a woman, Consuelo Ramirez, at gunpoint. He allegedly forced her to drive him outside of the jurisdiction. She has been placed in protection.

Watanbe said Henderson placed a small photograph of himself over his wife's bulletwound on her chest, as well as what appeared to be a framed engagement-type photograph over his wife's groin.

Dontaye Henderson worked a Dollar Tree store near the Carlsbad Mall and also worked for a consumer survey company inside the mall.

The victim's mother and 18-year-old sister, Tara Billups, stood together outside the courtroom while holding a white posterboard. Above photographs of Tamara, a message read "Tamara we love and miss u" in colorful block letters.

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