Man found guilty of robbery, false imprisonment in domestic violence case

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Kern County District Attorney’s Office

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A Kern County jury found a man guilty on Friday in a domestic violence case in which he threatened an ex-girlfriend with a hammer.

District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer said that the jury found James Henderson guilty of first-degree robbery, false imprisonment with violence and vandalism in connection with a October 2019 domestic violence incident. The jury also found Henderson used a deadly or dangerous weapon while committing crimes.

On Oct. 8, 2019 at 5:45 p.m., a woman was inside her apartment in downtown Bakersfield when Henderson, her ex-boyfriend, forced his way inside, damaging her apartment door, the DA’s Office said.

Henderson then threatened the victim with a hammer and demanded that she give him money. In fear for her safety, the woman gave Henderson the money she had. However, the DA’s Office said he was not satisfied and subsequently forced the victim to walk around the apartment complex to find him more money.

While holding the hammer, Henderson took the victim to a neighbor’s apartment and made her ask the neighbor for money. When the victim spoke to the neighbor, she was crying and shaking, according to the DA’s Office.

Rather than give her money, the neighbor called 911 and let the victim stay in his apartment until law enforcement arrived. Officers from the Bakersfield Police Department responded to the scene, where they found Henderson in possession of the hammer and the victim’s money.

Additionally, the court found true allegations that Henderson had two prior convictions for serious or violent “strike” offenses, including one for gang-related narcotics offenses and one for a second-degree robbery.

The conviction on the current case qualifies Henderson for “third strike” sentencing of up to 33 years-to-life in prison, according to the DA’s Office. The sentencing is scheduled for July 16.

“Repeat offenders who refuse to stop committing serious and violent crimes are exactly why the three-strikes law was passed,” Zimmer said. “Criminals who victimize our community time and time again face the higher punishment that comes with a third strike conviction.”

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