Lexington Father Convicted of Murdering Son on Father’s Day, Faces Life Sentence

LEXINGTON, KY – A jury has convicted James Harvey Hendron Jr., 51, for the murder of his 23-year-old son, Austin Hendron, on Father’s Day. The verdict was delivered after approximately four and a half hours of deliberation, and the jury recommended that Hendron serve a life sentence in prison for the killing.

Prosecutor Katie Schafer, who presented the case alongside Phil West, expressed surprise at the jury’s decision, stating, “We asked the jury to decide on an appropriate punishment considering the fact that he shot and killed his own son. The range of sentence options could have been anywhere from 20 to 50 years, or life, and they decided to give him life.”

Fayette County Commonwealth’s Attorney Kimberly Baird shared that it is not common for life sentences to be imposed in murder trials, emphasizing that many factors contribute to the outcome. “A lot of it depends on the facts and circumstances of a case, the evidence presented, the defendant’s prior record, and the composition of the jury,” Baird explained.

In the defense’s argument, James Hendron claimed self-defense, portraying his son as the primary aggressor in the altercation that took place in a Lexington neighborhood driveway. However, Schafer revealed that the jury was not swayed by this defense, as they believed the defendant pursued his son outside, shooting him three times, then immediately returned indoors to inform the victim’s mother to retrieve her son.

Earlier court testimony supported the account of events leading to the incident. Police reported that the shooting occurred in June 2018 on St. Ann Drive, leaving Austin Hendron fatally wounded.

James Hendron is set to be sentenced in May.