DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - A Scott County jury on Thursday found Tre Henderson guilty of first-degree murder and two counts of child endangerment in the 2018 death of 5-year-old Ja’Shawn Bussell.
Tre Henderson, 28, of Chicago, is charged with first-degree murder, child endangerment-multiple acts and child endangerment resulting in death. (KWQC/Scott County Sheriff's Office)
The jury deliberated for more than five hours before arriving at their verdict.
Henderson showed no reaction as Judge Thomas Reidel read the verdict. After jurors left the room, he wiped his eyes and held his hand to his mouth.
The 28-year-old Chicago man faces a mandatory life sentence on the murder charge and up to 50 years in prison on each of the child endangerment charges.
Henderson will be sentenced on April 1.
His attorneys, Michael Adams and Jill Eimermann declined to comment Thursday.
Scott County Mike Walton said the case was "very emotional."
"It's a tragedy," he said. "This shouldn't happen to a 5-year-old child. And the extent of the injuries, it's tough.."
Henderson's trial began Feb. 3.
According to trial testimony, Bussell’s mother, Jacqueline Rambert, called 911 the night of April 27, 2018, and said her son was choking and unresponsive in their apartment on Emerald Drive in Davenport.
Bussell was rushed to a local hospital and then airlifted to University Hospitals in Iowa City. He died May 1, 2018, from complications due to blunt force injuries to his head.
Rambert testified last week that Henderson told her he beat the boy with a belt after he urinated and soiled himself on April 20, 2018.
Two days later, she was at work when Henderson brought Bussell to her workplace and said he fell off the kitchen counter.
Over the next several days, the boy was vomiting and barely eating, Rambert said.
She admitted that she punched the boy in his side, breaking his ribs, at one point because she was frustrated and nervous when he would not stop biting his lip.
Henderson testified Wednesday that he never struck the boy or hit him with a belt. He also denied causing Bussell’s fatal injury and said he never saw Rambert hit the boy.
Rambert, 26, also of Chicago, pleaded guilty Jan. 24 to two counts of child endangerment and will be sentenced on March 20.