21-year-old sentenced for murder in dispute over boy

NOW: 21-year-old sentenced for murder in dispute over boy

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Twenty-one-year-old Alexis Willocks stepped forward for sentencing around 10 a.m. Tuesday morning, after being found guilty in the murder of 17-year-old Anika Henderson.

Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Christopher Fronk described it as "a pre-meditated murder."

Henderson was shot in the back of the head while sitting in a car in Randolph Park back in November 2021.

Willocks and Henderson had beefed with each other after Henderson had allegedly began seeing Willocks's ex-boyfriend, who was also the father of their child.

Willocks, 19 at the time, was charged that December, and found guilty in March of this year.

At the hearing, one of Willocks's former teachers, Clarence Wigfall, spoke on her behalf.

"Alexis is a good, young woman," Wigfall said. "I pray that she is able to share the positive energy and achieve her aspirations as well in a productive, law-abiding life."

Yet he couldn't reconcile her violent actions.

"It pales in comparison," he said.

Willocks was also given the opportunity to address the court.

"I did not take anyone's life and did not have any intent in doing so. I was driving to what was supposed to be a fistfight," said Willocks. "I understand the pain that the victim's family may be feeling and I'm sorry for their loss as the whole situation is tragic. I would like to send my condolences."

No one from Henderson's family was in the courtroom, though Fronk said that was not unusual.

"The emotion that's attenuating in these kinds of cases overwhelms people and sometimes they're not able to pull it together enough to come to court and/or make a statement," he said.

Despite maintaining her innocence, Judge Elizabeth Hurley handed down a 50-year sentence with five years suspended and 200 days of credit for Willocks, much to the disappointment of her family.

"That's to be expected," Fronk said. "That's their child, that's their loved one, but the facts are their loved one got a fair trial by a jury here in St. Joseph County and the jury found her guilty. They disagree with that, but it is what it is at that point."

But they still showed support for Willocks, saying they love her, as she was escorted out of the courtroom.

Willocks announced that she planned to appeal her sentence.

If she serves it in its entirety, she won't see release until 2068 when she will be 66 years old.

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