Plea agreement reached in bloody stabbing case

By Joe Beck

FRONT ROYAL — A man accused of inflicting life-threatening stab wounds on his wife would be sentenced to at least 18 years in prison under terms of a plea agreement disclosed Tuesday in Warren County Circuit Court.

Ricky Bryan Henry, 34, formerly of Rambo Court, pleaded guilty to aggravated malicious wounding and stabbing while committing a felony. In exchange, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Layton agreed to drop a charge of attempted first-degree murder. Judge Dennis L. Hupp said the attempted murder charge constituted essentially the same offense as aggravated malicious wounding in the case before him.

Layton choked up for several moments as he gave details of the evidence against Ricky Henry. Layton described the condition of the victim, Lakisha Henry, after several men came to her rescue while Ricky Henry allegedly attacked her at the Apple Mountain bus turnaround on Va. 79 just off of Interstate 66 on the evening of Aug. 14, 2012.

Layton said the couple’s two children, ages 4 and 6, had left their mother’s car and ran toward her as she lay on the ground severely wounded and struggling to remain conscious.

The children, standing about 10 feet away, asked Barton Garihan, one of the men tending to Lakisha Henry, if she was going to die, Layton said.

Lakisha Henry told Garihan she did not want to die in front of her children, Layton said.

“At that point, Mrs. Henry was having trouble breathing and asked, “Am I going to die?” according to Layton.

Meanwhile, several men were struggling to wrest the knife away from Ricky Henry and subdue him, Layton said.

Layton said Garihan would have testified at the trial that he heard Ricky Henry say he was having trouble breathing. Layton said the defendant told the other men at one point, “I’ll kill you (expletive). Get off me.”

According to Layton, Garihan told Ricky Henry to “shut (his) mouth and lay there or those guys are going to have to break your arms and legs.”

Layton said Ricky Henry calmed down shortly thereafter and paramedics arrived to take over treatment of Lakisha Henry from Garihan.

Layton identified six other men who fought to disarm and subdue Ricky Henry or who helped rescue Lakisha Henry in other ways. All were prepared to testify at trial, Layton said. They are the Rev. James Jones, Garrett Miller, Roger Ray, Howard Pruett, Andrew Ball and Gregory Vogt.

Layton said Lakisha Henry was stabbed more than eight times in the neck and that she has wounds that left her scarred and limited in the amount of weight she can lift as a result of weakened neck muscles. Doctors have told her that the injury has left her more vulnerable to neck damage if she suffers sudden trauma from a car accident or similar event, according to Layton.

Layton said the plea bargain includes a provision that Ricky Henry receive no more than 18 years in prison. Ricky Henry could receive an additional two years in prison for violating terms of a work release and electronic monitoring program he was participating in as part of a jail sentence he was serving at the time of the stabbing.

Layton cited a desire by Lakisha Henry for a plea agreement as a major factor in reaching the agreement with defense attorney Ghislaine Storr-Burks. Storr-Burks told Hupp she expected the sentencing hearing scheduled for 2 p.m. July 29 to be lengthy.

Ricky Henry’s guilty pleas are not final. Hupp said he would wait until he receives a pre-sentence report on Henry before deciding whether to approve it at the sentencing hearing.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com