Prosecutor: Suspect in East 92nd Street murders confessed, motive unknown

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CLEVELAND- The case is closed in the murders of five people, including an unborn child, prosecutors said on Friday.

James Sparks Henderson appears in court on May 8, 2015 with defense attorney Rufus Sims. (Photo: Jim Pijor/Fox 8 News)

James Sparks Henderson appears in court on May 8, 2015 with defense attorney Rufus Sims. (Photo: Jim Pijor/Fox 8 News)

James E. Sparks Henderson, 19, was charged with five counts of aggravated murder. His bond was set at $7.5 million and he has a preliminary hearing scheduled for May 18.

During a news conference, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty said Henderson confessed to the Nov. 21 murders on East 92nd Street. He showed no remorse and even had a meal at the house after killing five people, McGinty said. Prosecutors also said he went through the pockets of the deceased looking for money.

Prosecutors are not pursuing the death penalty.


Henderson was arrested at a McDonald's in Lakewood. Prosecutors said he had a 9 mm pistol with him that matched spent shell casings and bullets retrieved from the bodies. There isalso DNA evidence connecting him to the scene.

"He will murder no more," McGinty said.

The FOX 8 I-Team has learned more about Henderson's background. He was held in juvenile lock-up from August 19, 2010 until November 2010. He was then sent to the Marion County Community Correctional Facility. He was not released until July 19, 2011 when he was placed on aftercare.

Last fall, 41-year-old Sherita Johnson, who was pregnant, was shot and killed in the driveway of a house near East 92nd Street and Wade Park Avenue. Inside the home, Sherita’s 19-year-old son, Ja’rio Taylor; his friend, 17-year-old Shaylona Williams; and the mother’s boyfriend, 60-year-old Lemon Bryant, were dead.

Sherita Johnson’s 9-year-year daughter survived the shooting after a bullet grazed her chest and her 2-year-old son was unharmed.

Police do not know Henderson's motive, but he called Ja'rio Taylor his best friend.

Continuing coverage of the East 92nd Street murders here

Jen Steer May 8, 201510:33 am

We should begin any minute with information from Cleveland Police Calvin Williams and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty.

Jen Steer May 8, 201510:35 am

Mayor Frank Jackson says we’re here to announce the result of the recent arrested in the murders. He thanks Cleveland police.

Jen Steer May 8, 201510:35 am

Chief Calvin Williams says James Sparks Henderson has been charged with five counts of aggravated murder. More charges are coming.

Jen Steer May 8, 201510:36 am

Williams gives his condolences to the families of the victims. He calls it a heinous crime that was felt by the community.

Jen Steer May 8, 201510:37 am

Williams says the violent crimes task force followed dozens and dozens of leads.

Jen Steer May 8, 201510:39 am

Police name Jujuan Johnson as one of the victims. Sherita Johnson was 26 weeks pregnant.

Jen Steer May 8, 201510:40 am

DNA evidence was taken from the scene. Henderson was interviewed several times and there were differences in his statements. Police got a warrant for his DNA and it was a match.

Jen Steer May 8, 201510:40 am

When police went to question Henderson again, officers found he had a loaded 9 mm pistol.

Jen Steer May 8, 201510:41 am

Police say the pistol matched the spent casings at the scene and bullets found in the victims. The weapon is not listed as lost or stolen.

Jen Steer May 8, 201510:42 am

Prosecutor Tim McGinty calls this one of the most terrible crimes in Cleveland history. He credits Cleveland police for their diligent work.

Jen Steer May 8, 201510:43 am

McGinty calls the officers on the case heroes. He says their work gave them the evidence to convict Henderson. McGinty also says Henderson provided a confession with information only the killer would know. “He will kill no more.”

Jen Steer May 8, 201510:44 am

Henderson told police Ja’rio Taylor was one of his best friends.

Jen Steer May 8, 201510:45 am

McGinty says Henderson had “talked his way out” each time the police interviewed him. He says Henderson thought he was smarter than the police.

Jen Steer May 8, 201510:46 am

McGinty is not seeking the death penalty as part of the deal with Henderson for his confession.

Jen Steer May 8, 201510:46 am

McGinty wanted to bring some resolution to the case and says he seized the opportunity to end this for the family.

Jen Steer May 8, 201510:47 am

“We couldn’t figure why anyone would do all these deaths,” McGinty says. There was nothing in their backgrounds that would link them to something so violent.

Jen Steer May 8, 201510:48 am

“This is great police work,” McGinty says. Henderson was arrested at a McDonald’s in Lakewood. He was first questioned weeks ago.

Jen Steer May 8, 201510:49 am

McGinty says they do not have a motive and Henderson shows no remorse. He even had a meal while at the East 92nd Street house.