Bloomington man, acquitted of murder, shares his story and cell mate's

By WEEK Producer

March 6, 2013 Updated Mar 7, 2013 at 1:10 PM CDT

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- It was a gruesome day that Bloomington residents will never forget.

The Hendricks family were found slain in their East side home on the night of November 8th, 1983.

The father, David Hendricks said he was away on business at the time.

Unable to reach his family by phone, David said he called police to have them checked on.

"I drove right down and got here at about 11:10 at night," Hendricks said in 1983. "What had happened was a lot worst than the accident I had thought."

After finding Hendricks's wife and three children murdered, police quickly pinned the father as their first real suspect.

Without physical evidence, Hendricks was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

"I had to go through a lot, mentally, to just get back to the normal guy who is David Hendricks," Hendricks said Wednesday. "Not just prison changed me, but I was accused of killing my family in a really brutal way. I was bereaved in a sudden and horrible way. Who knows which forces did what to me, but I was confused and floundering for awhile."

Hendricks appealed his sentence and seven years later, the Supreme Court ordered another trial where a McLean County jury acquitted him.

It's been about twelve years since Hendricks has been behind bars, and now, he says he is finding peace in writing and remembering his lost family.

"It hurt like hell to bring memories back of just playing with Becky," Hendricks said about one of his daughters. "See, I'm going to cry now, and I'm through it years later. It just hurts, but it actually got to where there was some joy in it. Pretty soon I could laugh about funny incidents."

Hendricks recently released his self-published book, Tom Henry, Confession of a Killer, where he shares the story of his former cell mate and convicted murderer, Henry Hillenbrand.

While Hendricks says he has not given up on finding justice for his family's killer, he still believes there is a man underneath any monster, which is the theme in his book.

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