Fort Worth man accused in fatal shooting at auction house

05/15/2014 5:36 PM

05/15/2014 5:37 PM

A 28-year-old Fort Worth man faces a capital murder charge in a shootout at an auction house last month that left a 54-year-old employee dead.

Romon Henderson is accused of fatally shooting Sheila Johnson, an Air Force veteran, during a robbery April 13 at the 4A Good Auction house at 3921 Mansfield Highway.

In addition, Henderson’s 25-year-old brother, Raan Henderson, and a 23-year-old woman are accused of burglary of a building in a December break-in at the auction house.

Raan Henderson worked briefly at the auction house eight or nine years ago in the warehouse, according to the owners, Robert Crowder and Beverly Carter.

They said they suspected him of stealing from the business and of being behind at least one robbery in which Johnson was hit on the head. They said police never followed through on their reports.

Johnson, who had helped run the auction house for more than a decade, was found dead of multiple gunshots April 13 near the auctioneer’s podium when the owners rushed to the business after learning that she had failed to answer the door for an appointment.

Crowder said Johnson, whom he has described as rail-thin but tough, put up a brave fight, reportedly emptying a magazine on a .22-caliber rifle in a shootout with the robber.

Romon Henderson was arrested May 4 on an unrelated warrant accusing him of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, stemming from allegations that he had threatened residents at an apartment complex with a gun in March.

He was still being held in the Tarrant County Jail on Thursday when homicide investigators added the capital murder case, jail records show.

Homicide Sgt. Joe Loughman said that the investigation, led by Detective W.D. Paine, is continuing and that more arrests are expected.

Previous suspicions

Tarrant County court records show that both brothers have been in trouble with the law before.

Romon Henderson has misdemeanor convictions for marijuana possession and vehicle burglary and was sentenced to 120 days in jail in 2011 on a state jail conviction of possession of a controlled substance.

Raan Henderson, records show, was convicted in 2009 on three charges of aggravated robbery and sentenced to nine years in prison. The convictions stemmed from three armed robberies, including one in which a male victim was shot.

Crowder and Carter do not know Romon Henderson but said Raan Henderson worked for them for about a month and a half almost a decade ago.

“During that little period of time, lots of things were stolen,” Crowder said. “At first, we didn’t know what was going on. It took us a while and then we figured it out and we gave it all to the police.

“… We told them then that the kid is going to be dangerous if you let him go with this kind of stuff. It’s going to turn worse.”

But police, the owners say, never followed through, and Raan Henderson eventually went to prison for other crimes.

Crowder said he wasn’t surprised to learn from investigators that Raan Henderson is accused in the December burglary or that his brother is being held in Johnson’s slaying.

Jail records show that Raan Henderson was arrested April 28 on a parole violation warrant. He was charged May 8 in the December break-in.

Also charged in the burglary is Marcellas Shana Willis.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, a Forest Hill officer driving on Mansfield Highway saw at least two people run from the auction house across the street toward another business. Stopping to investigate, he found Willis hiding behind the other business.

When the officer asked what she was doing, Willis replied that she and her friends were “out breaking into [expletive deleted],” according to the affidavit.

The officer detained the woman and called Fort Worth police to the scene after noticing that a glass door on the auction house had been broken.

Fort Worth officers found a leather case containing a pearl necklace on the ground behind the business where Willis had been hiding. Crowder, called to the scene, identified the necklace as among property missing from the auction house, the affidavit says.

Police seized the property but did not arrest Willis at the scene.

Praise and frustration

Crowder said he “raised hell” about the lack of an arrest the night.

“She knows who was burglarizing us,” Crowder said.

The case was instead assigned to a detective for a follow-up investigation. The detective obtained an arrest warrant for Willis on Jan. 14 after efforts to reach her were unsuccessful, the affidavit says.

Jail records show that Willis was arrested on the burglary warrant April 24. She was released May 6 after posting a $4,500 bond, records show.

Carter praised the work of homicide investigators and her area’s neighborhood patrol officer. But she said that if Willis had been immediately arrested in December — or if the owners’ reports years ago about Raan Henderson had been taken seriously — “I’m pretty convinced we could have changed the chain of events that happened now.

“On the one hand, there’s been horrendous handling of stuff,” Carter said. “On the other hand, there have been heroic efforts made.”

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