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Posted by Jeff Brush,
Susan Diane Hendricks was arrested last week as a suspect in the shooting deaths of four of her family members after investigators found her statements to police to be “inconsistent with scientific and forensic evidence.” According to deposition records in a bankruptcy hearing for Hendricks in October 2008, Hendricks was no stranger to being caught in a lie.
Hendricks was charged in the shooting deaths of Marshall Wayne Hendricks, 20, Matthew Wayne Hendricks, 23, her ex-husband Mark Wayne Hendricks, 52, and her step-mother Linda Ann Burns, 64 on October 14.
In February 2007 Hendricks filed for bankruptcy just 18 days before the death of her father. A law firm representing her creditors took Susan to court alleging she knowingly concealed a small piece of property she owned and the proceeds from her father’s life insurance policies.
“The debtor, with intent to hinder, delay or defraud the Trustee and her creditors of the insurance on the life of her father,” the 2007 Skinner v. Hendricks case read.
In a deposition with Skinner & Associates Law Firm obtained by Patch, Hendricks recanted an earlier story she used to explain the disappearance of approximately $115,000 she inherited following her father’s death.
“If I don’t get straight answers, we’ll shut it down and I’ll see you on the 16th,” a lawyer told Hendricks in reference to a scheduled court appearance.
Hendricks confirmed that she had received approximately $65,000 from her father’s Liberty Life insurance policy and another $50,000 from an AARP benefit.
Rather than using the money to pay the debts that landed her in bankruptcy court, Hendricks cashed the checks and kept the money. She originally told a lawyer that she told several people to take the money and to not tell her what they did with it, but this time had a different story.
Hendricks told the lawyer that she put the money in her bathroom closet and left it there. “It was basically not because I had any big purchases. I just didn’t really care about the money,” she said.
In an earlier deposition in October 2008 Hendricks was asked why she spent the money despite the bankruptcy proceedings.
“Wasn’t it clear to you that the bankruptcy court thought that money ought to be turned over to the trustees,” a lawyer for the plaintiff asked.
“Not really,” Hendricks responded. “I guess in your eyes, I can see where you’re coming from. In mine, the money meant nothing and I didn’t care.”
In December 2008 Hendricks sent a letter to the court, plaintiff, and WYFF attempting to cease the bankruptcy proceeding. “It is my intention to work out a payment plan with my creditors.”
The court did not grant her request to stop the bankruptcy proceedings.
In the 47-page deposition Hendricks then went on to explain how the $115,000 was spent over the course of the next year and a half.
The largest amount- $20,000- Hendricks said was given as a tithe to her church. The lawyer asked why the church wouldn’t have record of receiving a lump sum in their collection plate.
“They should be able to tell you that there was a day on which all of a sudden 20 grand in cash popped up in the collection,” the lawyer said. Hendricks said they didn’t have record of it because she donated the money on two separate occasions in the amount of $10,000. The lawyer said that still didn’t explain why the church didn’t have record of receiving the money.
Hendricks then explained that the rest of the money was given to family members, friends and sometimes strangers. Personally she used the money to purchase new furniture for her mobile home, made repairs to the bathroom, purchased a security system with cameras, and paid two people to build a website for her new motivational speaking business.
She told the lawyer that she had also helped friends purchase used cars, make a down payment on a mobile home, make repairs to cars, and she even helped a friend avoid bankruptcy. Hendricks recalled giving some of the money to two different women with whom she had relationships with. She helped another friend pay to have his father brought to the U.S. illegally from Mexico.
In the deposition Hendricks described a period of great stress in her family life that included her son Marshall’s troubles with police, her son Matthew’s open heart surgery and supposed drug problems, her father’s death and the depression she suffered after shooting and killing an intruder in her home in 2006.
Following this period Hendricks said she spent the money on others with the hope that her family and friends would love her in return.
“I thought if I let them borrow this money, if I try to help them, if I do this for them, that they will love me. But in turn, it turned out I basically gave away a lot of money to people that I haven’t seen since then, that have basically walked off. I guess you’d say it didn’t work. They didn’t love me. And I can’t account for all the money.”
Hendricks also told the lawyer that she had tried to take her own life by overdosing on drugs.
Hendricks statements in the deposition paint a picture of person who suffered great tragedy and loss, but family and friends who knew her and the family members she killed remember a completely different scenario.
“Matthew’s name has been dragged through the mud, and he never hurt anybody,” Susie Chappell, Matthew’s aunt said. “He never had a drug problem, it’s just not true.”
Matthew was Susan Hendricks youngest son, the same son she told police killed three of his family members before taking his own life.
“She’s trying to make herself out to be a victim,” Chappell said. “We lost half our family that day.”
Hendricks also told a lawyer in the deposition that she suffered from bipolar disorder and was on “six or seven different kinds of medicine.”
“Where you see a red chicken, I might see an orange chicken. And where you see the law in one way, I saw the money as God’s way of giving me something to help people that needed help,” Hendricks said in the deposition.
Hendricks creditor was awarded a summary judgement in February 2009 in the amount of $115,280.58.
13th Circuit Defender John Mauldin has been appointed to represent Susan Hendricks. Mauldin has not responded to inquiries from Easley Patch.
Tony Robinson, Mark Hendricks cousin said he doesn’t see a selfless person suffering from a psychological disorder in Susan Hendricks, but rather a selfish person looking to displace blame.
“She demonstrated enough coherence of mind to cover up her sin and deflect her guilt towards someone that could not defend themselves: one of her own victims,” Robinson said.
Hendricks told police she first called her sister Evelyn Burns and told her there had been an emergency at the family’s home on Pinedale Road. When Burns arrived at the home she told police she found her nephew dead and immediately called 911. She told police Matthew had committed suicide.
When sheriff’s deputies arrived at the home they discovered a scene that went far beyond a single suicide. After an investigation that carried out over a week police arrested Hendricks at a hotel in Easley and charged her with four counts of murder and four counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, according to warrants.
Hendricks remains in police custody after her arraignment last week with no bond set.