Murder trial for Austinite killed in Greece last year to begin this week

Austin

PATRAS, GREECE (KXAN) — A family living in Austin is in Greece this week, getting ready to face the men accused of killing their 22-year-old son.

Bakari Henderson was beaten to death last year by nine people on the Greek Island of Zakynthos. 

“We have our good days and our bad days,” said his mother, Jill Henderson. “We’re just trying to stay positive, stay prayed up, wish for the best.”

Jill said the family flew to Athens and went to Patras Tuesday. Patras is where the trial will take place.

“Kind of have some sad thoughts because this was the last place he was alive,” she said about being Greece. “But also a little bit of pleasant thoughts because it was the last place he was alive.”

The Henderson family said Bakari had graduated from the University of Arizona in May 2017. He attended Anderson High School and graduated from Hyde Park Baptist High School in 2013.

He was in Greece in July 2017 to work on a photo shoot to launch his own clothing line. 

“He’s definitely missed. That’s all I can say. His spirit will forever be missed,” Jill said. 

Once the trial begins Friday, his loved ones will find out if nine Serbian nationals who police say beat Bakari to death will be sent to prison.

“[I’m] not too nervous since I don’t really know what to expect, and now that we’re here, I was more nervous before we got here, but now, I’m better,” Jill said.

Two of the nine suspects were released on bail last year. They fled to Serbia. 

Jill said the family has been working with attorneys in New York, as well as attorneys in Greece.

While the family isn’t too familiar with the Greek court system, she told KXAN she knows “They have 3 judges and 4 civilians that represent what we consider to be a jury, and they all vote on the verdict.”

“The embassy has been very supportive while we’ve been here, and they have given us whatever guidance they’re able to,” Jill said.

The family said the trial will begin at 9 a.m. Friday Greek time. 

Before the family returns home to Austin, Jill Henderson said she wants to visit the island where Bakari died. 

“Just because it was the last place Bakari was alive, and it’ll just help me have closure,” she said.

Closure and justice – they hope they can get both. 

“The maximum amount of time for the crime they committed is what justice would look like for us,” Jill said. 

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