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Jonathan Redding Sentenced to Life for Shooting Death of Grant Park Bartender

Judge tells victim's family: "I am profoundly sorry for your loss"

Jonathan Redding was found guilty Monday for the shooting death of Atlanta bartender John Henderson.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Esmond Adams sentenced Redding to life in prison, plus 70 years.

The verdict comes nearly two years after John Henderson was shot and killed during Jan. 7, 2009 robbery at the former Standard Food & Spirits Bar in Grant Park.

Redding, 19, was charged with Henderson's death.

Redding, whom prosecutors alleged is a member of the "30 Deep" street gang, was indicted last May on 24 counts charging him with felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and armed robbery among other crimes.

The jury took just 2 and 1/2 hours to convict Redding, following the four-day trial, of:

  • Felony Murder
  • Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon
  • Armed Robbery
  • Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony
  • False Imprisonment
  • Criminal Damage to Property
  • Burglary
  • Theft by Receiving Stolen Property
  • Criminal Attempt to Commit Armed Robbery
  • Participation in Criminal Street Gang Activity

Before sentencing him, Henderson's parents addressed Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Esmond Adams to a packed courtroom.

"Our family has been devastated," his mother, Carole Henderson, said tearfully of her adopted son. "He has been taken from his many friends and acquaintances. With John's death so much has been taken away from so many."

Her husband, Don Henderson, who called Redding a coward, pleaded with the judge to spare Atlantans of this "wolf from the 30 Deep pack."

Redding, he said, remains "unbroken" and "unrepentant" and will never change.

"I ask you to sentence him in such a way" so that the consequences his act affects Redding "every single day for the remainder of his natural life," Henderson said.

"Atlanta gave John his own niche in the world," Henderson said, adding his son sought to fully realize his potential in Atlanta, a city that he loved.

"John loved Atlanta and Atlanta loved John," Henderson said. "He got his wish even though he didn’t fully realize his dream."

Lead prosecutor Gabe Banks asked the judge to send a message to would-be gang members by imposing her sentences on the most serious charges to run consecutively — essentially putting Redding in prison for life.

But Redding's mother, Dorothy, tearfully pleaded with the court for mercy on her only son, who sat at the defense table, just a few feet away from her.

"I don't think my son is truly a bad child," she said, breaking down into sobs and adding hers is a Christian and church-going family.

She said her son was caught up with the wrong crowd and begged for forgiveness and mercy in the sentencing.

John Henderson's shooting became a catalyst for residents who were fed up with what they saw as a lack of response from Atlanta City Hall and the city's police department to rampant crime.

Just a day after Henderson’s murder, hundreds of individuals from across the city gathered at the Standard to hold a vigil in his memory. That led to the formation of Atlantans Together Against Crime.

Within months, ATAC grew to more than 10,000 members with the group seeking answers and action from then-Mayor Shirley Franklin and then Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington.

Franklin and Pennington said they were concerned about crime and that city resources were committed to keeping residents safe.

And they said despite the high profile nature of Henderson's murder and the attention it garnered, statistically, crime was on the decrease.

Even so, the murder, and perceived indifference from city officials made crime the No. 1 issue of the 2009 mayoral race.

Rodney April 24, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Jason Snyder I told you about someone was going to be shot to death a year to the date of John Henderson's death .

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