Home News Local News Suspect pleads not guilty in sexual assault

Suspect pleads not guilty in sexual assault

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A man suspected of sexually assaulting and violently attacking his former girlfriend before crashing a vehicle he was driving has pleaded not guilty to multiple criminal counts.

Jason Henderson (Submitted Photo)

Jason Henderson, 21, entered a formal plea of not guilty to charges of criminal sexual penetration second degree, armed with a deadly weapon; criminal sexual penetration in the second degree, strangulation and/or suffocation; aggravated battery, deadly weapon, household member; and interference with communications during his Nov. 23 arraignment in New Mexico’s 5th Judicial District Court in Chaves County.

Henderson appeared at the arraignment via GoogleMeet from the Chaves County Detention Center where he is currently being held without bond.

District Judge Dustin Hunter scheduled Henderson’s jury trial for May 11, according to electronic court records.

Henderson on Oct. 6 is alleged to have choked and sexually assaulted his former girlfriend and struck her several times with a machete while inside her residence.

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When co-workers and other people began texting the victim because she had not showed up to work as scheduled, Henderson then allegedly texted them back posing as the woman, saying she was all right.

Henderson, according to documents, texted one of his own relatives using the woman’s phone, informing them he had hurt her. The relative then came to the woman’s house and transported her to the hospital, but left after she had been admitted.

Police later learned from the relative that Henderson might have intentionally crashed a vehicle he had been driving while heading north from Roswell on U.S. 285 toward Vaughn.

It was learned later that day that an unoccupied vehicle that had rolled over had been discovered on U.S. 285 at mile marker 118.

Henderson was subsequently found and taken into custody Oct. 9 when he called Sheriff Mike Herrington from the Sunrise Medical Center and said he wanted to turn himself over.

In a separate case pertaining to the crash, documents filed in Chaves County Magistrate Court state that Henderson faces charges of careless driving, leaving the scene of an accident involving damage to vehicle; failure to give immediate notice of accidents; no proof of insurance; failure to register or title a vehicle as required; and no driver’s license.

Henderson entered a plea of not guilty to all charges in that case during an Oct. 14 arraignment.

Henderson is also currently awaiting sentencing after pleading no contest in September to one count of tampering with evidence as part of a plea and disposition agreement in connection with the March 8, 2018 fatal shooting of Garland Troy Berg, 50, of Roswell.

Paisley Terry, 40, of Roswell, who is Henderson’s mother, is also a suspect in Berg’s death.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301 or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.