Surviving victims testify about double homicide
Two of the surviving four victims in a Fawn Township home-invasion double homicide testified Wednesday that they saw Paul Jackson Henry III fire a handgun repeatedly at alleged heroin dealer Foday Cheeks.
"I just seen Foday put his hands up and (Henry) shoot him in the chest area," said Amy Eller, 33, during Henry's preliminary hearing. "I think he was trying to get the gun out of (Henry's) hand. ... I seen him go to his knees and come back up as if he was going to grab the gun."
Coren Clymer, 24, who was living at Cheeks' 706 Brown Road home for about a month, was the second survivor to take the stand and said she saw Henry shoot Cheeks repeatedly the night of Sept. 13.
"After he started to get shot, he put his hands up and said, 'Oh God,'" Clymer testified as her eyes welled with tears.
Clymer said Henry and his wife, Veronique Aundrea Henry, were looking for Cheeks' stash of heroin. Clymer said she told them he was out of the drug, but that the Henrys kept searching the home anyway.
"(Paul Henry) stated he's not a drug addict — that this wasn't about drugs," Clymer testified. "But then they asked for the drugs. They both asked."
After the hearing, chief deputy prosecutor David Sunday declined to speculate on what the Henrys were thinking at the time.
"Quite frankly, only Paul Henry knows what this is about," he said.
Prison suicide: Like her husband, 32-year-old Veronique Henry was charged with two counts each of homicide and aggravated assault, multiple counts of robbery and numerous other related charges. Both were committed to York County Prison without bail. They were captured after a vehicle chase along Route 322 in Dauphin County on Sept. 14.
But Veronique Henry committed suicide the next day by hanging herself in her prison cell, according to the York County Coroner's Office. That leaves Paul Henry, 40, of Canal Road Extended in East Manchester Township, as the sole defendant in the case.
State police say the Henrys knocked on Cheeks' back door about 10 p.m. Sept. 13, and when Danielle Taylor answered the door, one of them fatally shot her in the neck.
Taylor, 26, formerly of Spring Grove, also was living in Cheeks' home and was having a "thing" with him while his fiancee was in prison, according to Clymer's testimony.
Eller testified that she, her 14-year-old son and his 16-year-old friend were at the home of Cheeks — her former boyfriend — to do laundry.
At the time of his death, the 31-year-old Cheeks was free on $25,000 bail, charged with two felony counts of dealing heroin. The York County Drug Task Force raided his home May 12 and seized heroin and packaging materials, charging documents state.
Veronique Henry was a convicted heroin dealer, according to court records.
Heard a pop: According to testimony Wednesday, Eller and Clymer were in the living room with the boys and Cheeks while Taylor was in the kitchen cooking food.
Eller said she heard a knock on the back door, then a loud pop.
Clymer said they called out to Taylor, but got no answer.
The women testified that's when Cheeks started to walk to the kitchen to investigate, but Paul Henry confronted him and started shooting.
State Trooper Daniel Weldon, one of two lead investigators in the case, testified that Cheeks was shot eight times.
After Cheeks fell to the ground, Paul Henry made Clymer, Eller and the boys lie on the floor facedown, according to the women.
"That's when he ran out (into the living room) and told us to get the f— down," Clymer said.
Held at gunpoint: Eller testified that Veronique Henry guarded them at gunpoint while Paul Henry searched the home.
"Most of the time she held a gun to us ... pointing it directly at me," Eller recalled. "My son was crying. His friend was just shaking real bad. ... She told us nothing would happen to us if we just stayed on the ground and (stayed) quiet."
Clymer testified that at no point did she see Veronique Henry with a gun. Sunday later said the differing testimony is something the DA's office will look into, but that eyewitnesses sometimes have different vantage points and might not see the same thing.
Eller said the Henrys took the cellphones of all four surviving victims, "so we couldn't make phone calls, I'm assuming."
But they missed one of Cheeks' extra cellphones, according to Eller.
"I seen it laying there and kicked it under the couch while all of this was going on," she said, so she'd be able to call 911 afterward.
Two more gunshots: The women said they and the boys were eventually told to stay on the floor for 20 minutes, then leave via the front door. That's when the Henrys fled out the back door, they testified.
Just before the Henrys left, there were two more gunshots in the area of the kitchen, Eller testified.
She said she called out to Cheeks and Taylor, but neither responded, "so I got the kids and got out of there."
The women said that in addition to their phones, the Henrys also stole Eller's purse.
What police found: Weldon testified that when the couple was captured, police found in their vehicle Eller's purse, Cheeks' wallet, three handguns, one shotgun and "multiple" cellphones.
At the close of the hearing, District Judge Laura Manifold determined that enough evidence existed for Paul Henry to stand trial on all of his charges. She set his formal court arraignment for Nov. 11.
Defense attorney Farley Holt declined to discuss the case in detail.
"As usual, there's more to the story than what you heard in court," he said.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.