Butler County man sentenced to life

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 1, 2001

In trial proceedings held in Butler County this week, Henry Clifton Wade, 60, of Forest Home was convicted of murder for the shooting death of his wife last year.

On Tuesday, Nov. 27 Wade's trial began n it ended on the next day, and after only 20 minutes of deliberation, the answer from the jury was a clear and resounding &uot;guilty.&uot;

The Attorney General's Office presented evidence that Wade shot his wife, Onial Dean Wade, 58, point-blank in the chest with a 12-guage shotgun, shortly after 7 p.m. on Nov. 24, 2000, just one day after Thanksgiving.

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Witness testimony in the case proved to the court and jury that two days before her death the victim was in the process of seeking a temporary restraining order against her husband, because she feared for her life.

Testimony also was presented from witnesses who stated Wade had threatened to kill his wife on prior occasions.

In a telephone conversation at 7:01 p.m. on the night of the murder, Mrs. Wade told her daughter that her husband had a loaded gun and was behaving in a menacing manner toward her.

At 7:10 p.m. Wade called E-911 and reported that he had killed his wife.

During the trial, Wade claimed the gun was shot by accident during a struggle.

According to a deputy's testimony in the trial, Mrs. Wade's injury indicated that she had attempted to defend herself by raising her arm in front of her chest.

&uot;This defendant terrorized his wife with threats against her life and then carried out his vile intentions by shooting her pointblank in the chest and killing her,&uot; Attorney General Bill Pryor said in his statement, issued on Friday evening. "Justice demands that he be punished severely, and the sentence of life imprisonment that was imposed is an appropriate penalty for his crime.&uot;

The case was tried by the Attorney General's office at the request of Butler County District Attorney John Andrews, who recused himself from the case, due to a conflict of interest.

Before becoming district attorney, Andrews had represented Mrs. Wade as a private attorney in the matter of the petition for a restraining order.

&uot;I want to commend Assistant Attorney General William Dill of the Violent Crimes Division, Assistant Attorney General Don Valeska, chief of the Violent Crimes Division and Chief Deputy Kenny Harden of the Butler County Sheriff's Department for their outstanding work in achieving a conviction.

When passing judgement on the case, Circuit Judge Ed McFerrin sentenced Wade to &uot;serve the rest of his natural life in prison.&uot;