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Talent man sentenced for brutally assaulting aunt

A Talent man pleaded guilty Tuesday to attempted murder and assault charges in a case in which he and another man tried to kill his aunt, with plans to have sex with her corpse. 

Senior Deputy District Attorney Laura Cromwell said Eric Vale Henshaw, then 18, and Michael Lawrence Koch-Prosser, then 19, both of Talent, selected Henshaw's aunt from a list of potential victims with premeditated plans to murder her and violate her corpse.  

On Jan. 3, the two assailants approached Henshaw's aunt under the guise of needing to borrow a can of lubricant for Henshaw's car.  She said Henshaw struck her with an air soft pistol, and Koch-Prosser stabbed her multiple times while Henshaw shouted "Kill her!"

Police and prosecutors said the two assailants then left the victim for dead with plans to return later to sexually violate the corpse. 

"They'd gone to see a movie," Cromwell said. When the two were arrested near the Tinseltown movie theater, police described them as "nonchalant," and said the two had condoms in their pockets they had planned to use in the next stage of their crime.

But while her assailants were away, the victim reached out to a neighbor for help. She lost 10½ quarts of blood, and her heart stopped twice on the operating table.

The victim addressed the court, struggling to fight back tears through her prepared statement.

"Why would you do that?" she asked Henshaw, "I've been nothing but kind to you your entire life."

The victim said Henshaw's closest cousin, her son, saw her flatline on the operating table

"He had to see that and know that you did that," she said.

The victim has undergone counseling and physical therapy over the past year.  Prosecution says that she still has trouble trusting young men and bears visible scars and nerve damage to her arm from the attack.

The victim said that to help her recover from the incident, she has since sold her Talent home and removed all photos of Henshaw from family albums and Facebook.

"You are not part of our family anymore," she told Henshaw, telling him to never contact her or family members again.

"We can't completely remove you from our past, but we can remove you from our future," she said.

Henshaw's grandmother, who shares a last name with the victim, also told the court how the crime has fractured her family.

After the emotionally wrenching statements, court appointed defense attorney Donald Scales was unsure where to begin.

"This is frankly one of the most inexplicable cases I've ever had," Scales said.

Scales described Henshaw prior to the crime as friendly and easy-going. In an attempt to answer why Henshaw would commit such a crime, Scales said that Henshaw had exposed himself to violent pornography available on the Internet and violent video games that desensitized him to the attack.

"There is no excuse for what has happened here," Scales said. 

Henshaw received the same sentence handed down to Koch-Prosser in September: 120 months in prison plus restitution to the victim in the amount of $130,494.

Henshaw was initially unsure what to say after sentencing.

"You could start by saying you're sorry," Circuit Court Judge David Hoppe said.

"I'm really sorry for betraying you," Henshaw said, breaking into tears. He also apologized to the family.

Hoppe described it as a "horrible case."

"Just hearing about it is traumatizing," Hoppe said.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.

Eric Vale Henshaw