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Stepson accused of stabbing his stepfather to death; grand jury indicts for first-degree murder

By Gheni_Platenburg
Oct. 4, 2011 at 5:04 a.m.


A search of Lavaca County District Attorney's Office phone records over the past year would reveal an exorbitant number of incoming calls from Alabama and Florida.

Email inboxes and postal mail boxes at the office also had an abundance of communications from the same places, all of which derived from the Housemans.

The Houseman family waged an all-out campaign of not only calls and letters, but also texts to the district attorney's office, hoping to get justice for their loved one.

"We wanted to stay on top of the prosecution to not forget about Shanon (Houseman)," said cousin Christopher Jones, of Florida. "I didn't want him to be another statistic."

The family's prayers for justice were seemingly answered on Sept. 30.

That day, the family learned that Kristopher Adam Henderson had been indicted by a Lavaca County grand jury. Henderson is accused of first-degree murder in the death of his stepfather, Shanon Houseman.

"We're happy," said Cassie Houseman, one of Shanon Houseman's sisters. "We'll be more happy when he's actually behind bars."

Shanon Reese Houseman, 42, died in August 2010 after being stabbed multiple times at his home in the 21570 block of Farm-to-Market Road 530 near the Speaks community in southern Lavaca County.

Both Lavaca County District Attorney Heather McMinn and Lavaca County Sheriff Micah Harmon declined to comment on the case.

Sharon Houseman, Shanon Houseman's widow and Henderson's mother, also declined to comment on the case.

Although a warrant had been issued for his arrest, Henderson was not yet in custody as of Tuesday night.

JR Peters, chief deputy of the Lavaca County Sheriff's Office, said authorities are trying to determine Henderson's whereabouts.

According to earlier reports, the troubles began the morning of Aug. 10, 2010, when Sharon Houseman asked her husband to read a letter she wrote to him explaining her desire to end their 17-year marriage.

Infuriated by the letter, Houseman allegedly blew up and began threatening everyone in the house, prompting his wife to call the Lavaca County Sheriff's Office.

Houseman left before deputies arrived to investigate the first disturbance call, claiming he was headed back to his hometown of Mobile, Ala. Instead, he returned to his Hallettsville-area home later that night, prompting his wife to make a second call for help.

Sharon Houseman said she and her husband were outside arguing when Henderson, who was 21 years old at the time, came to her aid.

The fatal fight ensued shortly thereafter, with Houseman throwing the first blow, the family members said.

Shanon Houseman was stabbed with what Harmon previously described as a "large, hunting-type knife."

Houseman was pronounced dead at the scene by Lavaca County Justice of the Peace Tramer Woytek.

His body was taken to the Travis County Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy.

The victim's family members said the autopsy, which they said detailed his 14 stab wounds and 13 defense wounds, contradicted Henderson's claims of self-defense.

"You don't stab someone that many times and its self defense," said Cassie Houseman, 39.

The Advocate has filed a public records request with Lavaca County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1, and Michael Andes to obtain a copy of the autopsy.

Fred Houseman, the victim's father, said his son's death came as a shock, as he believed for the most part all was well in his son's household.

"He loved that little house where he was living. That was the first home they bought together," said Fred Houseman, who said his son was happy about his recently acquired homestead. "He wanted me to come see it because he was so proud of it."

Fred Houseman said the only source of friction he was aware of in his son's life came from the fact that Henderson and his older sister, both of whom were adults, still lived at home.

"He got mad at Adam for lying around the house not doing anything," said Fred Houseman, 68. "He got that from me. I got mad at (Shanon) for just laying around when he was around 19 before he went to the Navy."

Despite his stepson's purported laziness, Fred houseman said his son had only kind things to say about the boy he had helped raise since the age of 2.

"He always spoke well of him," said Fred Houseman. "I liked Adam. He was a nice young man, but he was kind of strange."

Fred Houseman speculated his step-grandson was on drugs at the time of the incident.

Over the past year, the Houseman's have struggled to cope with their loved one's violent death.

"It's day by day. We've got a lot of people that pray. God has helped us through it," said Jones, 38. "God said we must forgive to be forgiven. My heart forgives him."

Since his son's death, Fred Houseman said he has had little contact with his son's widow other than to get his son's tombstone plaque, which Fred Houseman said she did not want to turn over to her husband's family so they could bury him in Mobile, Ala.

However, Fred Houseman said he did hear from his daughter-in-law after word came that her son had been indicted and a warrant had been issued for his arrest.

Fred Houseman said through tears she informed him Henderson was in North Carolina visiting his father.

Now that an indictment has been issued, the Housemans said they are now focusing on the next legal step - a trial or a plea deal.

"I want him to spend the rest of his life in prison, and there's no guarantee that he'll get out," said Cassie Houseman.

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