‘Something felt wrong’: Son of slain former Lakeland commissioner testifies at murder trial

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Three years after the shocking murder of a former Lakeland city commissioner and her husband, the trial for the accused killer has started.

Marcelle Waldon is accused of killing Edie Yates-Henderson and her husband David Henderson, inside their Lake Morton home in November 2020.

Police were called to Henderson’s home after her son said he could not reach her by phone and she missed her doctor’s appointment.

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He entered the home to find the oven and gas burners turned on in the kitchen and breakfast untouched on the table.

Police said he left the home and called 911.

“I open the door and immediately something felt wrong. Breakfast was laid out on the table. The drawers were open and disheveled, and the burners were on,” Edie’s son Todd Baylis testified on Monday.

Police accused Waldon, who was homeless, of entering the home to commit a burglary.

They said Edie was at the home while her husband David was out getting breakfast.

Several witnesses testified that they saw David in good spirits picking up breakfast at his favorite restaurant.

Police said when her husband David returned home with breakfast, Waldon was already inside the home and was holding Edie at gunpoint.

Police say Waldon tied up the couple, stabbed David, and then forced Edie to write him a personal check and then stabbed her.

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After the murders, prosecutors say Waldon took several items from inside the home, turned the stove burners on high in an attempt to light the home on fire, and then later took David’s car and torched it.

“He turned the stove top, all of the gas burners to full blast,” Assistant State Attorney Mark Levine told jurors. “The defendant went back and stole the couples car an hour or two after the murders, took the car to a field and doused it with gasoline and lit it on fire.”

According to an affidavit, Waldon told detectives two unknown males had offered him $300 to torch the vehicle.

During opening statements a defense attorney for Waldon told jurors to pay close attention to the, “lack of evidence, or inconsistencies in the evidence.”

“The state is going to be unable to meet that of most highest burdens and beyond and to the exclusions of every reasonable doubt,” his attorney, Debra Tuomey said.

The trial is scheduled to resume at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The trial and sentencing is scheduled to wrap up by Feb. 16, 2024.

Waldon faces the death penalty if convicted.

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