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St. Petersburg grandmother stabbed 26 times, autopsy says

The 56-year-old mail carrier was killed by her 13-year-old grandson, Javarick Henderson Jr., according to police. Records reveal new details about the murder case.
Pinellas-Pasco assistant public defender Stacey Schroeder, left, discusses a plea and waives arraignment for 13-year-old Javarick Henderson Jr., right, during a hearing Tuesday. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TImes]
Pinellas-Pasco assistant public defender Stacey Schroeder, left, discusses a plea and waives arraignment for 13-year-old Javarick Henderson Jr., right, during a hearing Tuesday. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | TImes]
Published Jan. 10
Updated Jan. 10

ST. PETERSBURG — The mail carrier whose 13-year-old grandson is accused of killing her was stabbed 26 times, according to her autopsy.

Investigative reports describe a gruesome scene around the death of 56-year-old Gloria Davis, who police say was fatally stabbed on Nov. 25 inside her home at 634 60th Ave. S. Investigators wrote that there was a blood trail from Davis’ bedroom on the east side of the home to the kitchen on the west side.

A door leading from the kitchen to the garage “was covered in blood,” an officer wrote, “as though the victim was attempting to escape.” A medical examiner determined that she died from “sharp force injuries.”

Davis’ grandson, Javarick Henderson Jr., is accused of killing her. A grand jury last month indicted Henderson on a first-degree murder charge, moving his case from juvenile to adult court.

The cause of death and other details about the case against the 13-year-old are contained in police reports and the autopsy report obtained by the Tampa Bay Times. But the investigation is ongoing, said a St. Petersburg police spokeswoman, and more reports and evidence could be added to the case file.

Related: Should a 13-year-old accused of murder be in the adult system?

During an interview, detectives asked Henderson if he hurt his grandmother. The boy paused for a long time, then said, “I don’t think I hurt her," according to the reports. He said something similar to his father, who told police that his son said he didn’t think he killed his grandmother, then said “that he can’t remember doing it."

The reports shed more light on how investigators came to focus on Henderson.

There were no signs of forced entry into the home, a detective wrote. Family members told police that Davis locked her doors and set her alarm system every night. The alarm was functioning when police arrived.

Henderson’s 12-year-old half-brother told investigators that, at the time of the incident, he heard his brother make statements such as “I did something wrong", “Why don’t you just die" and “Don’t call 911 yet, I need time to think.”

Henderson didn’t recall, or would sometimes deny, his statements unless detectives brought up that his younger brother had told police he said them. Henderson kept changing details of his story, a detective wrote, including which of the two boys woke up first and in what position he found his grandmother.

There were also cuts on Henderson’s hands “consistent with injuries gained by a stabbing motion and the hand sliding down the blade of the knife," a detective wrote.

Police arrested Henderson later that Nov. 25 day. The boy had no criminal history, and a school resource officer told police he had no history of referrals and was in advanced or honors classes. He described Henderson as a loner.

The police reports touch on two other people of interest. One is Davis’ ex-boyfriend, who dated Davis on and off for almost 20 years and had bought the alarm system for Davis. He said he was home in Tampa that night and hadn’t seen Davis since August or September.

The other was a delivery driver whose fingerprints showed up on the exterior of the front door. The reports said detectives were trying to locate him through his ex-wife.

The reports also detail the grandmother’s last day with her grandsons. The morning of Nov. 24, Davis took the two boys to a nursing home to visit her mother, according to the police reports. They arrived at Davis’ home about 2 p.m., Henderson’s brother told police, and hung out there for the day. The Times is not identifying Henderson’s brother because of his age and because police say he had no role in the crime.

Then at about 10 p.m., Davis said she was going to bed and told the boys not to stay up too late, Henderson’s brother said. The younger boy went to bed about midnight, falling asleep on the couch. Both boys said Henderson went to sleep in the guest room, although investigators noted the bed did not appear slept in.

From there, the boys’ stories diverge. Henderson’s brother told police that he heard stuff falling and his grandmother “crying and screaming saying she needed air because she couldn’t breathe,” according to his interview. He got up and ran into the kitchen, where he saw his brother.

Henderson told him to “go see,” although the report doesn’t elaborate what he was referring to. He wasn’t holding anything, his brother said, and was “upset that he couldn’t save his grandmother.” Henderson told police the same thing.

Both boys told police they woke up at about 2 a.m. Henderson told police he had to go the bathroom, then saw Davis on the floor. She told him to call 911, but his phone wasn’t on, he said, so he couldn’t.

He then grabbed a knife from a kitchen cabinet and began cutting himself because he didn’t want to live anymore, he told police. He said the same thing to his brother, the younger boy told police. In the same interview, Henderson also told detectives that he grabbed the knife for protection in case anyone else was in the house. Then he put the knife in the sink and washed it off.

At 3:31 a.m., Henderson’s brother called their father — one of Davis’ two sons — and told him that she wasn’t breathing. They both called police. Officers arrived a few minutes later. Paramedics pronounced Davis dead at 3:46 a.m.

Investigators found the knife in the sink, writing that it was chef’s knife with an 8-inch blade. A Medical Examiner’s investigator noted the tip was bent. Police spokeswoman Yolanda Fernandez declined to say whether investigators have determined if it was the weapon used in the incident, saying it’s still undergoing forensic analysis.

In the guest room, investigators found two backpacks with school work inside. One, with a Hogwarts design, appeared to be spattered with blood.

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