Homer man indicted on murder, robbery charges in 2013 case

A Kenai grand jury on Oct. 20 indicted Lee John Henry, 55, on murder and robbery charges in the 2013 death of Mark Matthews. The grand jury charged that Henry killed Matthews, then 61, on July 28, 2013, as Matthews walked on the Boystown Trail from Poopdeck Street toward his home in an apartment on Main Street.

Homer Police on Oct. 16 had arrested Henry for first-degree murder. Homer Police found at the scene what they believe is the murder weapon, but have not identified it. An autopsy showed Matthews died of blunt-force trauma to his head.

The grand jury indicted Henry on the first-degree murder charge and added three counts of second-degree murder, one count of manslaughter and one count of first-degree robbery. The second-degree murder charges offer different theories of how Henry might have killed Matthews, alleging that Henry intended to cause serious physical injury to Matthews and caused his death, that he knowingly engaged in conduct that resulted in Matthews’ death, or that acting alone or with other persons committed or attempted to commit robbery and that resulted in Matthews’ death.

The manslaughter charge alleges that Henry recklessly caused the death of Matthews. The lesser charges of murder or manslaughter offer jurors options for convicting a defendant should a jury not find sufficient evidence for a first-degree murder conviction.

The robbery charge alleges that Henry used force to attempt to take or take property from Matthews. Before he died, Matthews had received a $250 Western Union Moneygram. Police found the pockets of Matthews’ pants turned inside out.

Five witnesses appeared before the grand jury, including lead investigator Sgt. Lary Kuhns. Kuhns said the case remains under investigation. The indictment also lists 16 search warrants served from 2013 to 2016. Kuhns said warrants were served on houses and on cell phones to get records.

Police also got a warrant to get a DNA sample from Henry. DNA evidence found in Matthews’ pockets was linked to Henry. That and a taped conversation between an informant and Henry helped close the case after a three-year investigation. Henry had been identified as a suspect early on, but police needed further evidence to support an arrest and indictment.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

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