Judge: 'You can't start a gunfight and then claim self-defense'

COQUILLE, Ore. - Timothy Henson dropped his head Thursday as a judge found him guilty in the murders of two men. Later in the afternoon he found out he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Henson's attorney patted him on the back before the convicted killer turned and mouthed "Are you OK?" to his significant other seated in the courtroom.

Judge Richard Baron found the Myrtle Creek man guilty of killing his mother-in-law's 19-year-old husband and her 70-year-old ex-husband in a roadside shooting on Highway 101 near Bandon last September.

Baron found him guilty Thursday morning at the conclusion of this week's bench trial, which does not involve a jury.

Baron sentenced Henson to two life sentences with the possibility of parole after 30 years. Since the sentences will run consecutively, it will actually be 60 years before he will be eligible for parole.

"You can't start a gunfight and then claim self-defense," Baron said.

Henson was accused of killing both his mother-in-law's 19-year-old husband and 70-year-old ex-husband off of Highway 101 near Bandon in September of last year.

Prosecutors charged that Henson shot and killed 19-year-old George Micheaux III and 70-year-old Milton Leach, who died the next day at a hospital in Portland.

On Tuesday, Detective Tom Willis described the events that took place on and before September 2, 2012, which ended in the deaths of the two men.

Willis testified that 5 people traveling in a tan Chevy Blazer were going to the beach, so Milton Leach could show the family where he wanted his ashes spread. Willis said Mr. Leach was very sick and nearing his final days.

The day before the deaths, the group had checked into two rooms at a motel in Bandon. The neighbor of the room that Mr. Henson and Vellena Tuell were in said in a police statement that it sounded as if the two were awake all night, and that she heard yelling and possible slapping coming from the room.

The witness saw Ms. Tuell the next morning outside of the room crying.

Willis said a man and women driving south on Highway 101 saw the Blazer pull to the side of the road. He said the couple saw a person fall to the ground, and saw someone else pointing a gun at them.

As the man was calling 911, he heard three pops and the dispatcher told him to drive away, Willis said.

Police eventually found an arrested Henson nearby.

Investigators say they found a small .22 caliber handgun at the scene which had all six bullets expended. They say they found 2 other guns at the scene, as well as 3 other guns in the car.

Willis testified that blood and urine samples were taken from Henson and 2 others in the car. They all came back positive for meth, he said.