In a preliminary hearing on August 19, 2016, disturbing new details came out about the murders of high school students Natalie Henderson and Carter Davis. You can read my prior post about this case HERE.
20-year-old Jeffrey Hazelwood, the man who reportedly confessed to the heinous murders, appeared in court last week for the preliminary hearing. I must warn you that the details that came out when Detective Jennifer Bennett testified on the stand, are pretty graphic.
For anyone who is unable to watch the video, below are some details:
- A 911 call came in on the morning of August 1, from a grocery store delivery driver who saw two bodies on the ground next to a couple of vehicles behind the Publix grocery store.
- Natalie had no clothing on; Carter was wearing black basketball shorts
- Surveillance video showed one vehicle (allegedly belonging to Hazelwood) parking in the Publix side parking lot at about 3 AM, just before Natalie and Carter’s vehicles park in the back.
- A male subject (allegedly Hazelwood) can be seen on camera observing the two vehicles. He is a white male with longer brown hair. He goes off camera and then can be seen coming back about an hour later (He allegedly went to a gas station at this point, using Natalie’s card). The actual shooting was not captured on surveillance.
- Natalie and Carter’s families were on scene when Detective Bennett was there.
- As the scene was being processed, Detective Bennett received info about a guy Natalie had been seeing on and off for the last few months and so she conducted an interview with him. He was cleared as a suspect.
- The next day, police discovered that one of Natalie’s debit cards had been taken and had been used at a gas station in Woodstock shortly after the murders. Police obtained that surveillance footage and matched it with the vehicle on the surveillance at the grocery store. The suspect was wearing a (V for Vendetta) mask as he was pumping gas. The suspect had been wearing that same mask at the murder scene.
- They were able to determine the suspect’s vehicle was a Honda Passport.
- They did a GBI search of the vehicle type and matched it to Hazelwood’s grandfather. When they looked into the grandfather, they discovered that he had been having some issues with his grandson, who matched the description of the suspect.
- They used his social media to link him to a female that lives in Cobb County. They went to that address and located the vehicle parked out front.
- They watched the vehicle and they saw someone get into the car and drive to a local gas station. They followed the vehicle and observed the person exhibiting strange behavior – walking around the parking lot, changing his clothes, taking his shirt off. At that point, they detained him (Jeffrey Hazelwood)
- Hazelwood was detained and search warrants were executed on his car and at the residence in Cobb County.
- Inside the vehicle, they found a V for Vendetta mask, a small red gas can, a 9 MM firearm, and several other items.
- A projectile was recovered at the crime scene that was consistent with the 9 MM firearm found in the car.
- Detective Bennett interviewed Hazelwood. He told her initially that he was present during the incident and saw everything that occurred, except for who shot the victims.
- He admitted going into the vehicle and taking items from them, including the debit card from Natalie’s vehicle.
- She interviewed him the following day for a second time (on August 4). Hazelwood started off by saying he had driven someone else to the scene and that they instructed him to do the things he did to the victims. As the story progressed, he started to admit guilt and use the word “I.”
- He admitted that when he originally saw the vehicles, he became curious as to why they were going behind the Publix. He followed them back there and said he watched them from behind an electrical box. He then said he climbed on top of the store and watched them from there.
- Then he said he confronted them. He walked over to Natalie’s car and opened up the backseat door, where both of the teens were. He pointed the gun at them and told them to get out of the car.
- He said there was an exchange between him and Carter and he hit Carter with the gun as he was getting out of the car. He said that he then became scared of Carter and shot him.
- He ordered Natalie out of the car. He said she was wearing a shirt and underwear. He said he made her take her clothes off and then he sexually assaulted her with his fingers.
- He said he made Natalie lean over the hood and he spanked her before shooting her in the head.
- Detective Bennett attended the autopsy. Natalie had a gunshot wound to the top right of her head. Carter also died of a gunshot wound to the head.
- Hazelwood told Bennett that he left the scene to go put gas in his car and in a gas can because he didn’t want to run out of gas. He also stole jumper cables from Carter’s car in case his car broke down.
- Hazelwood never said why he did it. They have not been able to determine a specific motive.
- It was clear that any shell casings at the scene had been picked up. They discovered writings in which Hazelwood describes wanting to be an assassin.
- Cell phone records revealed that Hazelwood’s phone hit a tower near the Publix shortly before the homicide occurred.
- Hazelwood said he stole the gun from his grandfather, whom he lived with until recently. His grandfather said he and his grandmother were afraid of Hazelwood.
- On cross examination, Detective Bennett said Hazelwood gave her a few different accounts as to what he was doing prior to the shooting, but that he was at a Waffle House earlier.
- Hazelwood is friends with a male subject that Carter knew from school.
- Hazelwood was allegedly kicked out of his grandparents’ home.
- At at the end of the first interview with Hazelwood, he requested an attorney like the ones he had seen on TV.
- In the second interview, Hazelwood told Detective Bennett that someone named “Matt” had made him do it.
- According to the defense attorney, Hazelwood is schizophrenic and is bi-polar. He also has sensory disorder and Asberger’s.
- Hazelwood had spent time at a mental hospital.
At the point where Detective Bennett is describing Natalie’s murder, she breaks down on the stand and can be seen wiping tears away. She was the sole witness in the hearing.
The day prior to the hearing, the autopsy report was released, detailing how Natalie and Carter’s bodies had been posed by their killer. From AJC:
Natalie, who was found naked, was in a sexually suggestive position, and Carter, shirtless and wearing athletic shorts, was found with his arms stretched out in a cross-like position, according to police statements that accompanied the autopsy reports. Neither was wearing shoes.
Both teens were found on their backs in an empty parking space between their cars, Carter’s black Toyota Camry and Natalie’s Honda CRV.
The State is charging Hazelwood with 11 counts, including two counts of malice murder, two counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, one count of aggravated sexual battery, one count of identity fraud, two counts of misdemeanor theft by taking, and a single count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Magistrate Judge Karen Woodson bound the case over to the September 9 Fulton grand jury.
Hazelwood has not yet entered a plea but I’d bet we’ll likely see an insanity plea with this one.