Carlton Henderson is the man who jumped out of a freezer at a swanky Manhattan brunch spot this weekend, waving a knife and trying to attack restaurant workers. Shortly after Henderson broke out of the freezer at Sarabeth’s, he had a heart attack and died. This all happened on Manhattan’s Upper West Side at about 11AM, during the brunch rush.
Henderson, 54 years old, had just gotten out of prison in Boston. He had been in jail since 2017 awaiting trial in a cold case, but was released after some of the evidence in that case was dismissed as inadmissible. It is not yet clear how he made his way to the Manhattan restaurant, or how he got into the freezer.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Henderson Jumped Out of The Freezer Yelling ‘Away From Me, Satan’ As Workers Were Making Brunch. Then He Attacked Them With a Knife
At about 11AM on Sunday, workers were busy preparing brunch at Sarabeth’s restaurant on 80th street and Amsterdam Avenue. Then one of them went to the freezer. As soon as the freezer door opened, a man — Henderson — leaped out at them, yelling, “Away from me, Satan!”
Henderson then grabbed a knife and attacked the kitchen staff. They managed to disarm him and wrestled him to the ground. Then he had a heart attack and lost consciousness. He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Henderson’s lawyer, John Amabile, told the New York Times that he was surprised by the story.
“That’s very foreign to my experience with the guy, and I represented him for over a year and met with him many times,” he said. “My impression of him was that he was a very intelligent person who was very engaged as a client. I did not get the sense that he was psychotic or mentally ill or physically ill.”
Amabile did say that Henderson had “put on some weight” while in jail, but he seemed to think that it was within normal range.
2. Henderson Was a Suspect in a Cold Case Killing From 1988
Henderson was charged in the murders of William Medina, 26, and Antonio Dos Reis, 22, who were both shot in Boston on May 7, 1988. The men were gunned down while they sat in a parked car. Authorities suspect that their deaths were linked to a drug trafficking gang, whose leader may have ordered the deaths of Medina and Dos Reis.
In 2017, police arrested Henderson in St Louis and extradited him to Boston. There, he was indicted on two counts of first degree murder.
3. Henderson Was Released From Jail in Boston on August 1. Nobody Knows How He Wound Up in A Manhattan Freezer on August 5
Henderson was arrested in 2017 and spent months waiting to be tried for the double murder which he allegedly was involved in.
Henderson was indicted in Boston because he had made incriminating statements to the police, back in 1993. But there was always some doubt as to whether those statements should have been admitted in court. Henderson apparently only talked to the police because he expected to get immunity. His lawyer said that he had an agreement that he would only talk if his statements were inadmissible in court.
Prosecutors disagree with this and say Henderson never had a written deal with anyone. But on August 1, a judge in Boston signed an order releasing Henderson from jail. He was supposed to come back on August 14. Instead, he wound up in the freezer of a Manhattan restaurant on August 5.
Henderson told the judge who released him that he might go and stay with his sister in California for a while. How he ended up, far from California, in Sarabeth’s kitchen, is a total mystery for now.
4. Henderson Had a Rap Sheet That Included Crimes Carried Out in Six States. He Was Originally From Arizona
The 54 year old Henderson was originally from Cave Creek, Arizona. He reportedly had a long rap sheet that included connections to crimes and civil cases carried out in six states. ABC News reports that Henderson did not have any charges filed against him in New York.
News reports speculate that Henderson had been living in Arizona for years in order to stay out of reach of Boston police, who wanted to question him about the 1988 slayings of William Medina and Antonio Dos Reis. Medina and Dos Reis were gunned down in 1988 as they sat in a parked car. Authorities suspect that Henderson, acting as part of an organized drug ring, shot both men.
5. Henderson May Have Spent All of Saturday Night in the Freezer. Nobody Knows Why He Was There
Henderson was released from his Boston jail on August 1, and pledged to return to court on August 14. Judge Janet Sanders gave him permission to leave the state in order to go and visit his sister, who lived in California.
Nobody has yet pieced together what Henderson’s movements were after he left jail. He may have been on his way to California, or he may have been heading somewhere else. What’s certain is that on Sunday morning, he was in the freezer of a Manhattan brunch spot.
Fox News reports that their sources in the police department say Henderson must have spent all of Saturday night in the freezer. But nobody knows how he got into the walk-in freezer without staff noticing. And nobody has accounted for his movements in the days between August 1, when he was released from jail, and August 5, when he appeared in the freezer.