Why the killers of an Austinite in Greece may not get heavy jail time

Top federal leaders are joining his parents in a quest for justice.

AUSTIN - Months after his death, the parents of Bakari Henderson are trying to cope with the sudden loss of their son, who was in Greece to launch his own fashion line.

Now -- from a world away, with distance and language barriers working against them -- they are trying to do all they can to make sure the perpetrators are kept behind bars.

The crime was caught on video, showing Bakari Henderson trying to escape a deadly mob chasing him in the Greek island of Zakynthos.

As difficult is it is knowing his final moments were played around the world -- his parents hope it will be useful to Greek prosecutors in building a case against the assailants.

"It's kind of comforting to know there is a video so people can't say, 'Oh I wasn't there,' because yes, you were there, you are on the video," the Hendersons said.

Months after the incident, no trial date has been set for the nine men accused in the attack.

Phil and Jill Henderson worry about each of them seeing their day in court. Two of the nine have already been released on bond and allowed to return to their home in Serbia.

Dimitrios Ioannidis is an expert in the Greek judicial system. KVUE and the Austin American-Statesman's Tony Plohetski talked to him via Skpe from his office in Boston.

Justice, he said, may look and feel different there than in the U.S.

"They tend to be a little more flexible in terms of letting prisoners go home on Christmas and have holidays with their family," said Ioannidis. "They tend to have an easier time going out into the world. They may not serve a full sentence. If you get convicted of a crime such as this in the United States, you will serve a lot of years in prison. That may not happen in Greece."

And he shares the Henderson's concern about the two men who have returned to Serbia.

"So the question I have is, will they be able to get them to come to court," he asked. "If if they do, will they be able to get them to serve the time?"

Still, he said Greece has a criminal justice system that he believes will take the death of Bakari Henderson seriously and do what it can to at least obtain a conviction for the attackers.

While no trial date has been set for the men, Phil and Jill Henderson plan to remain deeply involved in their pursuit for justice and do all they can possibly can from here in the United States.

Sens. John Cornyn, Ted Cruz and Rep. Michael McCaul sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urging the U.S. to “utilize all diplomatic means available to ensure that the aggressors do not escape justice.”

Bakari Henderson Letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by kvuenews on Scribd

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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