Where Are Kenneth Dailey, Willie Henderson, and Bertha Owens Now in the Frederick Huff Murder?

Where Are Kenneth Dailey, Willie Henderson, and Bertha Owens Now in the Frederick Huff Murder?

In St. Louis City, Missouri, in October 1996, 64-year-old Frederick Huff was assaulted mercilessly, and his TV and VCR were taken. About two months later, the alleged perpetrators were apprehended thanks to the testimony of a lady who had been arrested by the police on suspicion of stealing and violating her probation. In “Reasonable Doubt: Villain or Victim?” on Investigation Discovery, opposing evidence is presented against the evidence that led to the conviction. What actually happened, then? Let’s investigate.

Kenneth Dailey
Kenneth Dailey

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Frederick Huff’s Cause of Death

The California Gardens apartments in South St. Louis City, Missouri’s Benton Park West, were designated in 1996 as affordable housing for the elderly, the disabled, and low-income people. Since receiving a diagnosis of throat cancer, Frederick Huff has resided in the first-floor unit of the building and is confined to a wheelchair. He also uses a voice activator. With outside pathways and steps that resembled those of a motel up to the second floor, the flats were built in the shape of a U around a courtyard.

Frederick Huff, 64, was fatally battered on October 18, 1996, when allegedly 4 criminals were robbing him of his TV and VCR. After receiving 911 calls from Ellen Wright, a neighbour who was in her forties at the time, the police arrived on the scene. The injured man was sent to a local hospital, where he passed away 20 days later.

Who was Frederick Huff’s Killer?

When Frederick passed away in the hospital, the police had no witnesses or other supporting information with which to start a homicide investigation. They did, however, get lucky when they apprehended Felicia Jones, who had previously lived on the floor above Frederick’s flat the night of the assault. She was facing three counts of felony theft in Clayton, North Carolina, and a warrant for her arrest was issued in St. Louis County. She also hadn’t completed her previous probation for third-degree assault and theft.

When she claimed to be a witness to a murder, she faced a lengthy prison sentence. She stated that she was hosting a group of individuals who had been drinking and using crack on the night of the assault while she shared a residence with Virgil “Shaky” Danzie. Felicia stated that she and Virgil witnessed four persons, including Willie “Smooth” Henderson, Bertha Ann Owens, Paulette Bryant, and her on-and-off boyfriend Kenneth Dailey, beating Frederick to death.

At the storm door, Felicia and Virgil had observed the crime take place in front of their eyes. She claimed that the investigators took her so they could take the clothes Kenny had been wearing that evening. Blood was discovered on the neck of the garment by forensics, but it did not ultimately match the victim’s. Following Bertha, Kenneth, and Willie’s arrest, the detectives called Ellen in and showed her three sets of pictures, each of which featured the three suspects along with two more people. The three were the same ones she had earlier spotted outside the victim’s apartment, she realised. When Frederick was killed, Kenneth, Willie, and Bertha were accused of it, but Paulette was fired for an unspecified reason.

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Where Are Bertha Owens, Willie Henderson, and Kenneth Dailey Now?

All three were found guilty and given life sentences, with Bertha receiving the harshest punishment of life plus 45 years. But the Midwest Innocence Project was confident Bertha was innocent, and they’ve been gathering proof ever since in the hopes of having her sentence overturned. According to the show, Felicia’s former detainee was also interrogated by Chris Anderson and Fatima Silva. She said that Felicia had told her that she had lied.

Moss passed away from heart illness in 2015, while Willie and Bertha’s appeals were both rejected in 2001. The 2 criminals who are still alive are currently serving their sentences in a Missouri jail.

People sometimes compare Charley Schneider to a mountain because he is large, angular, and has a voice that would roar down a valley. He spent 20 years as a police officer in St. Louis County, but he grew weary of serving those who had fewer values and stricter standards. He established himself as a private detective and investigated dubious convictions while searching for lost children whose parents didn’t want them back.

Charley was for the first time in his life at a loss when the Midwest Innocence Project contacted to accept his offer of free investigational work. He had recently received a diagnosis—a misdiagnosis, it turned out—of an illness that would gradually and irrevocably weaken his robust body and his highly inquiring mind (he had an IQ of 160 and had self-taught himself history, philosophy, and psychology).

Charley, who is not the kind to pass out on the couch, agreed to look into the case of Bertha Owens, who was imprisoned for life at the age of 38. It would at least serve as a diversion. He culled the essentials from the skimpy police report and depositions:

On October 18, 1996, a 64-year-old man had been brutally beaten and had both his TV and VCR stolen. Frederick Huff was a wheelchair user who also needed a voice activator since he had throat cancer and was unable to defend himself.

There was no power at risk, no seductive romance, and no lavish setting, therefore the case received little media attention. People retreated from the crime because it was committed with rapacious greed and cruelty.

The assault happened at the California Gardens apartments in Benton Park West, which at the time served as affordable housing for elderly or disabled residents with low incomes. The second level of the motel-style building includes outside steps and walkways that enable residents to easily keep tabs on their neighbours’ arrivals and departures. The apartments are arranged in a U shape around a courtyard.

Charley drew a plan, indicating Huff’s apartment on the first level and the “party house” up top, where Bertha, her co-defendants, and five additional persons had spent the evening drinking or doing crack.

“No physical proof, no fingerprints, nothing,” said Willie Henderson. I have been imprisoned ever since.

Virgil “Shaky” Danzie, the host of the party home, and Felicia Jones, a self-described eyewitness, allegedly watched as four individuals battered and robbed Huff that evening as they waited at the storm door. Three people—Kenneth Dailey, Felicia’s on-again, off-again boyfriend; Willie “Smooth” Henderson, a friend of his; and Bertha Ann Owens—were found guilty and given life sentences without the possibility of release. The fourth person was never charged for unknown reasons.

Seven weeks after the incident, when she was arrested for stealing and understood she was going to get a hefty term, Felicia told the homicide detectives her story. The investigators moved quickly to confiscate the clothing she claimed Kenny had been wearing that night because it was the first significant break in the case. The shirt’s neck was stained with blood.

Willie, Bertha, and Kenny were detained right away. Their defences ranged from hazy to nonexistent. Willie was unable to recall anything about that evening. Bertha claimed that although she had previously visited Shaky’s, she left with her friend Paulette Bryant (the fourth accused party) and went out to party elsewhere. They came back, and an ambulance was waiting outside.

Huff passed away 20 days later, marking the incident as a homicide.

Charley took a seat with a notepad at his side and began reading the 1,256-page trial transcript as well as the police reports.

After making the arrests, the detectives brought in Ellen Wright, a Caucasian woman in her forties and the neighbour who had called 911. They presented her with three collections of photographs, each featuring an arrestee and two unrelated people. She recognised the three individuals they had detained as being the ones she had earlier spotted outside of Huff’s flat. That in and of itself didn’t prove much because she later encountered Huff alive. She also remembered, however, that just before she dialled 911, she had seen six people walking down the second-floor stairs (possibly from Shaky’s apartment), and two of the men were carrying large bags. This memory came to her only now, seven weeks after the crime, during her third conversation with police.

Charley grimly reasoned that Bertha probably is guilty after all. In addition to an eyewitness, there were two more witnesses: Ellen and a man who remembered Bertha visiting his home one autumn to sell a TV.

However, Charley had been a police officer for long enough to know that three was the golden number they pushed for: it calmed a reluctant witness’ anxiety to find that two other people were stating the same thing, and having three witnesses carried weight with a jury.

In addition, this was a black-on-white crime committed on the South Side of St. Louis in the middle of the 1990s (Huff was white, the defendants were African-American). Closing that case would have had significant political motivation.

He skidded to a stop after speeding through the pretrial papers: In January 1998, just two months before the trial, the defence team learned of about 2,000 pages of medical records showing that Huff was beginning to recover from the brain injury when a bowel issue emerged—not as a direct result of the beating but rather as a side effect of treatment, not as a direct result of the beating. Despite performing a regular colonoscopy, the doctor unintentionally perforated Huff’s colon, necessitating the need for a colostomy.

The medical examiner, Dr. Michael Graham, explains that once the stitches started to leak, they went in and corrected the problem, but the location still had an abscess. After then, his situation got worse.

Graham admitted to the defence attorneys that he believed Huff would have passed away from his first wounds eventually—possibly up to a year later.

The use of forensic evidence did not complicate the case. In the end, the DNA in the blood on Kenny’s shirt didn’t match Huff’s. There were no prints left behind. The brick that is typically put outside to weigh down newspapers was the most likely weapon, according to Ellen, who told police that it was in front of Huff’s door that evening but was kicked into the grass by a paramedic. Brick fragments had been discovered inside the apartment, and a presumed blood test had come up positive.

Bertha Owens
Bertha Owens

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The Eyewitness, Felicia

Felicia claimed that she had cleaned the knife and placed it in Shaky’s drawer after the crime. Why? “I’m not sure. Such things shouldn’t be lying around. Additionally, she described discarding a bloody pair of gloves that she claimed Willie had managed to slip on beforehand despite being evidently extremely inebriated that evening.

Charley revisited Felicia’s earlier draughts. She had outstanding felony charges for three counts of theft in Clayton at the time she initially spoke with police, a warrant for her arrest in St. Louis County, and she hadn’t finished an earlier probation for either stealing or third-degree assault. She was considering going to jail. She was also concerned that because she and Kenny had been residing upstairs at Shaky’s flat, she would be linked to the Huff case.

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