Michael Hendrickson will spend the next 20 years behind bars as punishment for killing Dwight Green during an argument over unpaid wages, according to a news release from the V.I. Department of Justice.
Hendrickson, 28, of Estate Thomas, appeared before V.I. Superior Court Judge Renée Gumbs-Carty Tuesday morning for a change-of-plea hearing and sentencing for the Oct. 21, 2017, shooting death of Green.
Charged with one count each of first-degree murder, first-degree assault, voluntary manslaughter, third-degree assault, unauthorized possession of ammunition and four counts of unauthorized possession of a firearm, Hendrickson entered into a closed plea deal with prosecutors. He pleaded guilty to the single charge of second-degree murder in exchange for a 20-year prison term and dismissal with prejudice of the other charges.
“I would just like to say I’m sorry,” Hendrickson said, while addressing the court on his own behalf.
Describing the incident as “unfortunate, sad and disappointing,” Gumbs-Carty accepted the plea bargain and imposed a 20-year custodial sentence on Hendrickson in accordance with the terms of the deal.
Based on statements from three witnesses, including Hendrickson, police arrested Hendrickson on Oct. 21, 2017, after they received reports of a shooting at a home in Estate Thomas, according to a probable cause fact sheet prepared by Det. Nigel James.
One of the witnesses told police that he was at his house with Hendrickson, his nephew, and his niece. Shortly after, Green came to the house and Green and Hendrickson got into an argument over money owed to Hendrickson. The two men left the house and continued their argument on the porch. The witness said when he went outside on the porch “to make sure nothing happened, Hendrickson’s back was towards him, he heard the sound of gunshots and Green fell to the ground,” Det. James wrote.
The second witness stated that she, too, was at the Estate Thomas residence. She said when Green arrived at the house, he and Hendrickson got into an argument. The two men went outside and shortly after, she heard the sound of gunshots. When she went outside, she saw Green bent over in a fetal position, according to the probable cause fact sheet.
Hendrickson turned himself in to police the following day and gave a statement to officers. He stated that after Hurricane Maria, Green helped him to get job with a man by the name of “Eric” to assist with the cleanup of the island. He stated that “Eric” did not pay him on time and “Eric” owed him approximately $800, so he decided to ask Green for his money. Hendrickson said that when Green came to the residence, Hendrickson asked Green for his money, Green told him that he was not responsible for money “Eric” owed him and they began arguing. Hendrickson said he went outside on the porch and shortly after, Green came outside. They continued their argument, Green pushed Hendrickson twice and punched him in the face. Then, Hendrickson took a firearm out of his pocket and fired one shot at Green’s foot. Green lunged at Hendrickson and Hendrickson fired another shot at Green’s face. Green then fell to the ground and Hendrickson ran because he was scared, according to Det. James’ probable cause fact sheet.
Assistant Attorney General Timothy Perry argued the case for the prosecution.