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    Friday, May 17, 2024

    Jury convicts man in slaying of girlfriend in Stonington

    Undated photo of Brandia Irvin, 41, of Pawcatuck, who was stabbed to death by her former boyfriend Carlton Henderson in 2019. (Photo courtesy of family friend).
    Carlton Henderson appears Friday, Dec. 6, 2019, in New London Superior Court GA10. Henderson, 44, of Stonington, was convicted in New London Superior Court on Thursday, June 6, 2023 of murdering Brandia Irvin (The Day file photo)

    A 12-member jury delivered a quick guilty verdict on Friday in the murder trial of Carlton Henderson, the Pawcatuck man charged with stabbing to death his girlfriend as she was ending their longtime relationship.

    Henderson, 47, stood without expression in New London Superior Court as the verdict was read aloud on Friday morning. The jury deliberated less than two hours before finding him guilty of murder in the death of 41-year-old Brandia Irvin, a working single mother who one friend said “didn’t have a mean bone in her body.”

    Henderson was additionally found guilty of risk of injury to a minor.

    According to testimony, Henderson had fought with and stabbed Irvin in front of Irvin’s 12-year-old son at her 77 Mechanic St. apartment in Pawcatuck on the morning of Nov. 30, 2019.

    Friends and family gasped in relief when the verdict was announced and stayed in the courtroom to thank state prosecutors Christa Baker and Sarah Steere for their work in the case.

    “We hope this brings some peace to the family,” Baker said afterward.

    Henderson faces up to 70 years in prison when he is sentenced on Aug. 23.

    Irvin was a longtime bank employee working at Washington Trust in Westerly and who friends said supported Henderson but became fed up with his drug use and inability to maintain a job.

    She had been staying with her mother in the days leading up to her death out of fear of Henderson, according to testimony from Irvin’s mother. Irvin had decided to return to her Pawcatuck home on the night before the murder, thinking she was safe because she was with her son.

    Irvin’s young son testified that he watched as Henderson grabbed his mother around the neck, stabbed her and dragged her by the hair as he fled to find help at a neighbor’s home. Irvin sustained four stab wounds to her neck and died in the hospital days after the attack.

    Henderson, who has a criminal record that includes a stint in prison for an armed robbery in New London in 2003, testified that he was drinking and smoking PCP on the night before the murder occurred. Henderson claims he didn’t remember stabbing Irvin but did remember Irvin wielding a knife on the morning of Nov. 30, 2019, during an argument about going to McDonald’s. It was a story that never came up under questioning by Stonington police, who investigated the case.

    Friends who heard Henderson’s testimony scoffed at his claims.

    Rose McGuire, one of Irvin’s many friends, called Henderson’s testimony about Irvin pulling a knife simply “nonsense.”

    “That’s not her character. She was too kind of a person. She’s not a fighter,” McGuire said.

    McGuire said she doesn’t think Henderson should have any chance of getting out of prison and deserved punishment for not only killing an innocent and kind person but stealing future memories from Irvin’s two sons.

    “I miss her face. I miss her laugh. I miss her calling me stupid,” McGuire said in tears.

    Christina Johnson, another friend who attended the trial, said Irvin was “the type of person that could see the good in somebody.”

    Amy Rosado summed up Irvin’s character by saying, “there was no better person.”

    “This woman did not have a mean bone in her body. The worst you would get from her was an eye roll and maybe some silence,” Rosado said.

    g.smith@theday.com

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