CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) — A suburban St. Louis man who narrowly avoided prosecution as a teen in the killing of a 13-year-old has been convicted of fatally shooting a father of two during an attempted carjacking.
Ramon White, 21, of Pine Lawn, was found guilty Thursday of second-degree murder, attempted robbery and two weapons offenses in the July 2020 death of Dwight Henderson, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
It all happened after Henderson, a 32-year-old manager of Amazon delivery dispatchers, went to a gas station. While inside buying water, he spotted a man trying to drive off with his rental car and ran outside. He then tried to grab the robber’s gun and was shot once in the chest.
White’s public defender, Jay Kanzler, suggested people in the car with White might have been the culprits. Prosecutors presented DNA evidence tying White to Henderson’s rental car, footage of a police interrogation with White and social media messages that showed White trying to sell a gun two days after the killing.
Three years before killing Henderson, White was charged in the killing of a 13-year-old boy, Anthony Wilson Jr., near a St. Louis playground. White was 15 at the time but was charged as an adult.
St. Louis prosecutors dropped all charges in February 2019, the same day his trial was set to begin. Former St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner’s office said key witnesses were not available to testify.
“Most people don’t get second chances, but Ramon did. And what did he do with it?” Shayla Powell, Henderson’s fiancée and mother of his two children, said after the verdict. Henderson’s daughter was just a newborn and his son just 1 when he was killed.
White was charged again just two months after his release with stealing cars out of driveways in St. Charles County. He was out on bond in those cases when he shot and killed Henderson.
The Bail Project, a nonprofit that helps people who can’t afford their cash bonds, paid $1,000 — 10% of White’s $10,000 bond — to bail him out on the St. Charles County cases in October 2019. The nonprofit has faced criticism over crimes committed by other people after posting their bond.
The nonprofit argued on Friday that the purpose of bail is to ensure that defendants follow bond conditions and show up for court dates — not as a means to keep someone imprisoned indefinitely before trial.