Crime & Courts

Charlotte man found guilty in brutal 1992 attack on a woman. Cold case unit revived case

After a police cold case unit revived the case, a 67-year-old Charlotte man has been found guilty of a 1992 attack on a woman that left her permanently disabled.

Billy Joe Henry was sentenced recently to 60 years in prison, after a Superior Court jury found him guilty of assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill, inflicting serious injury, and first-degree kidnapping.

The jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict on a first-degree rape charge against Henry, according to the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office.

The victim was attacked and shot in the head on Jan. 18, 1992, in the 3000 block of Bost Avenue, off Wilkinson Boulevard in west Charlotte, The Charlotte Observer previously reported. Police never found the assailant at the time of the attack.

Henry was charged in 2017, after cold case investigators re-examined evidence because of technology advances since the crime, the Observer reported at the time. Police said they obtained a DNA profile from the evidence, and the profile matched Henry’s.

Judge Stephen Futrell sentenced Henry per sentencing laws in place when the attack occurred, according to a news release Friday by the District Attorney’s Office.

In the release, prosecutors thanked the victim for testifying 27 years after the assault.

“She was joined in court by many of the original first responders and investigators – from the responding patrol officer to the physician who conducted the victim’s exam,” according to the release.

“We are grateful for their continued willingness to secure justice.”

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Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. He currently reports on breaking news.