PALATKA, Fla. -- Putnam County authorities filed first-degree murder charges against confessed mass killer Robert Dale Henderson for the shooting death of a clothing store clerk who was first believed to have died of a brain hemorrhage.
Henderson, who has confessed to killing 12 people in five states during a two-week rampage in late January, was read his rights at the Putnam County Jail Wednesday and then given a first appearance before County Judge William Warren.
He was charged with premeditated murder in the Jan. 25 death of Dorothy Wilkinson, 50, a clerk at the Lucky H Western Shop in East Palatka.
It was the second time the balding Wyoming prison parolee has been charged in Florida. Previously, he was charged with three counts of murder in Ohio and one in Mississippi.
Mrs. Wilkinson's death originally was ruled to be by natural causes. A district medical examiner found a blood clot in her neck and said it caused a brain hemorrhage that killed her.
But after Henderson's detailed confession to authorities in Charlotte County in south Florida, the Putnam Sheriff's Office asked for a court order to exhume the woman's body so a second autopsy could be performed.
That autopsy was completed Tuesday night by Duval County (Jacksonville) Medical Examiner Dr. Peter Lipkovic, who found a bullet lodged in the woman's skull and ruled that she had died of a gunshot wound.
The sheriff's office filed an affidavit Wednesday morning and Circuit Court Judge E.L. Eastmoore issued a warrant for murder against Henderson.
Henderson, 36, of Eckmansville, Ohio, was brought to Palatka last week after a similar warrant was issued, charging him with the murder of Dr. Murray B. Ferderber, 79, of nearby Satsuma, also Jan. 25.
Ferderber, a sick and retired physician from Pittsburgh, Pa., was found slumped in an easy chair at his trailer home on the banks of the St. Johns River by his wife, Rita. Nothing was taken.
Capt. Cliff Miller, chief of detectives for the sheriff's office, said Assistant State Attorney Donald Holmes will present evidence to the county grand jury in both the Mrs. Wilkinson and Ferderber cases.
Henderson, who gave himself up voluntarily in Punta Gorda Feb. 6, also is charged with murdering his in-laws, Ivan and Marie Barnett, and their son, Cliff, 11, of Cherry Fork, Ohio, and Cheryl McDonald, 37, of Pascagoula, Miss.
He has confessed to or is being investigated in the deaths of Sam Corrent, 61, of Port Allen, La.; Lucinda Lee Russell, of Charleston, S.C.; Jerilyn Stanfield, of Cincinnati, Ohio; Vernon D. Odom, of Starkville, Miss., Frances Bell Dickey, of Batesville, Miss.; and an unidentifed hitchhiker.
He also is the primary suspect in the rape of a Valdosta, Ga., woman and her small daughter.