Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Estranged Husband Stunned by Slayings; No Arrests Reported in the Deaths of Woman and Her Daughter

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Estranged Husband Stunned by Slayings; No Arrests Reported in the Deaths of Woman and Her Daughter

Article excerpt

Byline: Jim Schoettler

Michael Gant said his estranged wife happily called him in late May about finally receiving a temporary visa to work in Jacksonville supporting her daughter while seeking U.S. citizenship.

Gant said when the couple met a few weeks later to sign their divorce papers, his wife, Judith Henry, was again in good spirits. They were ready to get on with their lives after a lengthy separation, he said. Her plans included marrying her fiance in her home country of Jamaica, while he hoped to also marry again one day.

But a killer crushed Henry's hopes and dreams June 29 and wiped out those of her 17-year-old daughter, Denise Rickman, a budding and bubbly track star at Mandarin High School.

Henry's fiance, who lived with her on South Shady Pine Street, told Gant he came home just before noon to find her fatally shot in a closet and her daughter shot in another room.

Police have released no new details about the Westside slayings, including a motive, how the women died or what part of the house they were found in. No arrests have been reported.

Police said at the scene there was no indication that a gunman was on the loose, but they did not elaborate. Investigators have yet to say whether a burglary at the home eight days earlier is linked.

Gant said he learned about the deaths while watching a television news show. He said he was then horrified to hear another newscast mentioned their recent divorce case - it was filed June 12 - and his name as part of a related story.

Gant, speaking for the first time publicly, told the Times-Union on Monday he had nothing to do with harming his wife and couldn't think who would want to kill the two women. Gant said he and Henry, 41, had been married only a brief period when they separated about six years ago. He said the timing of their divorce simply had to do with them deciding to move on. …

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