Second judge turns down plea deal for Christian Henry in child neglect, terrorizing cases
A second North Central District Court judge has now turned down a plea deal for Christian Joel Henry, 27.
Henry allegedly brandished a knife at a convenience store clerk in Minot in August 2019 and left his children home alone while he was out stealing in October 2019. His 5-year-old daughter went out in blizzard-like conditions looking for her parents and was found by a neighbor, who called police. Police took the child home and found a toddler and a baby alone in the home. They also found methamphetamine pipes in the bathroom that were in reach of the children.
Under the terms of the “global plea deal” proposed in court on Wednesday, Henry would have been sentenced to three years in prison, all suspended but 180 days, and three years of probation and would have had to pay restitution for the items he stole. He would also have received a deferred imposition of sentence on some of the charges, meaning they would be dismissed if he complied with probation conditions, and some of the other charges against him would be dismissed altogether. On the Class C felony terrorizing charge, the state would have removed language referring to the knife in the charging document so that a minimum mandatory sentence required by the state in cases where a weapon was used would not be triggered.
Judge Gary Lee refused to accept the plea deal on Wednesday and said the cases will be set for trial. Lee said he cannot get involved in plea negotiations, but is concerned because children are involved and he wants to hear more from Social Services about how things are going.
Judge Stacy Louser also refused to accept the proposed plea deal earlier this month and the prosecution and defense had said they would put the plea deal before Lee.
Henry’s lawyer, Kalli Hoffmann, said in court on Wednesday that Henry was battling a drug addiction problem at the time of the incidents and he has been complying with Ward County Social Services requirements as far as possible while he has been in the jail. The defense attorney said that Henry wants to get out so he can work toward putting his family back together.
A lawyer for Henry’s wife, Alicia Henry, said at a hearing in November that the children were placed in the custody of Ward County Social Services for one year at a prior family court hearing. Social Services and the family court will determine the Henrys’ contact with the children and their custody.
Alicia Henry, 26, pleaded guilty in November to one count of Class C felony child neglect, two counts of Class C felony theft of a credit card, and one Class A misdemeanor charge of possession of methamphetamine paraphernalia. The state agreed to dismiss two Class C felony child neglect charges, a Class C felony charge of conspiracy to commit unlawful entry into a motor vehicle, Class C felony conspiracy to commit unauthorized use of a credit card, and one Class C felony charge of unauthorized use of a credit card. Judge Gary Lee sentenced Henry to a deferred imposition of sentence for three years on the child neglect charge, along with three years of supervised probation, and ordered her to pay court costs. She also received a three-year deferred imposition of sentence and three years of probation, concurrent with the sentence on the child neglect charge, for each of the theft charges. She received a 360-day deferred imposition of sentence for two years of supervised probation for the Class A misdemeanor charge of possession of the meth pipes.