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Henchen Indicted in Southtowns Murders

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – A Grand Jury has indicted 42 year-old Colden resident Robert Henchen on charges that he murdered two elderly Southtowns women.

Henchen was arraigned Tuesday on charges of murder and tampering with physical evidence. He pleaded not guilty and continues to be held without bail. Erie County District Attorney Frank Clark said the indictment caps off a six-month long investigation.

Henchen faces 25 years to life for each of the two murder counts.

The bodies of 87 year-old Geraldine Jackson of Colden and 69 year-old Nancy Phelps of Marilla were found last month stored inside barrels in a barn near Henchen's home. Clark said an indictment would have been doubtful without the gruesome discovery.

In another bizarre twist in the case, the bodies were found inside the barn of Colden Town Justice Carolyn Siegal. Clark said she will not be charged for withholding evidence. But he expects to call her as a witness to establish Henchen's access to the barn.

Clark said Henchen's attorney is expected to mount an insanity defense in the case, based upon preliminary motions and Henchen's sudden "odd" behavior in jail, since the bodies were found.

Defense attorney John Molloy was unavailable for comment.

Clark does not believe the tactic will be successful. But he said it could delay the start of the trial until late this year.

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