“The saddest fact I’ve learned is nobody matters less to our society than young black women.” This quote from Jim DeRogatis really smacks after watching Bad Henry, which also begs the question: If the victims were white, would their murders have been handled differently?
Bad Henry, a 90-minute special program on the ID channel, is a compelling overview of the case of the Taco Bell Strangler, which would be a spoiler if the killer’s name weren’t already in the show title.
I learned a few things about Charlotte from this show, including that the city was hit especially hard by the crack epidemic. In 1993, the CMPD was battling the highest homicide rate the city had ever seen. And in the midst of this violence, Charlotte’s own south side strangler murdered nearly a dozen young black women.
Because police were dealing with so many homicides at once, they didn’t see the connections between the women’s deaths at the time, despite the similar MOs. Several of the women were strangled with a double ligature, and many of them appeared to have let the killer into their home. Some of the crime scenes were meticulously cleaned, and the killer even went to great lengths to hide evidence that he had sexually assaulted his victims.
The escalation of violence in each murder is horrific, but the scariest thing about this case is how normal the killer turns out to be once police finally capture him. Henry looks and sounds like your friend’s ex-boyfriend, or a guy you met at your last job. He is a girl’s coworker/bestie worst nightmare: the guy who seems so nice and unassuming while he preys on women who trust him as a friend. He’s a perfect example of the banality of evil, because monsters live and work in plain sight, right beside us.