Waverline Hardy holds a picture of her son, James Wesley Henry, at her Morganton home. // Watchdog photo by Andrew Jones

[Editor’s note: The initial version of this story described James Wesley Henry as a veteran. The military defines a veteran as someone who served honorably for at least six months beyond basic training. Henry’s length of service and the nature of his discharge are unclear. Asheville Watchdog has deleted that description.]

The man accused in the fatal stabbing of a dog in a North Asheville park last month is homeless and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and a drinking problem, according to his mother.

James Wesley Henry, 43, has cycled in and out of jail more than two dozen times. He was known to Asheville Police officers as far back as 2010 for his volatility.

He could be “totally fine, totally lucid, like, totally a reasonable human being, and then other times, it was like a different person,” said APD Captain Sean Aardema.

Henry had a temper and could be aggressive with officers and “other people, like on the sidewalks,” Aardema said.

Police also said it was “quite possible” they encountered Henry in the same North Asheville area in the days before the fatal dog attack in response to a call about a suspicious person, but have no record of it.

 “He wasn’t committing any crimes,” Aardema said, “so the officers left without taking any action.”

Henry’s mother, Waverline Hardy, told Asheville Watchdog that her son was mentally ill and “can’t really deal with people.” She said she would go months, sometimes years, without seeing him as he spent time behind bars or disappeared inexplicably from her life.

Hardy said she did not even know about the stabbing of 11-year-old Beignet on June 26 as the animal’s owner played pickleball nearby or that her son now sits in the Buncombe County Detention Center on a $10,000 secured bond, awaiting a July 18 hearing for a felony charge of cruelty to animals.

“My son, he’s not evil, he’s just got that mental illness,” Hardy said.

Asheville Watchdog examined public records in three counties related to Henry’s lengthy criminal history and spoke to his mother for an hour at her home in Morganton, nearly 60 miles northeast of Asheville. The Watchdog contacted his public defender, who declined to comment, and tried to reach other family members.

A memorial has been set up at the Animal Hospital of North Asheville honoring Beignet, an 11-year-old dog stabbed to death at Weaver Park on June 26. // Watchdog photo by Barbara Durr

Our reporting fills in gaps in the public’s knowledge of a man who has cycled in and out of the legal system for two decades and battled mental illness and alcoholism.

Key questions remain. What homelessness and mental health services did Henry receive, if any?

And what motivated him to fatally stab a defenseless dog in a crowded North Asheville park – a crime one police official described as an evisceration –  on a sunny afternoon?

Football aspirations and a drinking problem

Henry comes from a military family. When he was 10 months old, he moved with his mother and older brother to Germany where his father Alen served in the Army. The move began years of nomadic life for Henry, though the family eventually ended up back in Western North Carolina.

He played football and wrestled in high school, his mother said. When he was a senior, Hardy and her husband separated. Henry wanted to go to Western Piedmont Community College and play sports, but school was too expensive. So he decided to join the Army in the late 1990s and return to school, a plan that did not pan out, Hardy said.

“The military is not for everybody,” Hardy said. “Everybody’s brain can’t take it.”

Hardy said her son didn’t go overseas for combat but suffers from PTSD. Even before that, she added, “he’s always been a little different.”

“He was in the Army and he was in DC,” she said. “He just couldn’t take it. He just, you know, it was too much pressure.”

The Watchdog reached out to Henry’s father and brother but did not receive responses.

Henry’s legal troubles began in his early 20s, according to North Carolina court records.

He was charged with a handful of traffic violations in Burke County between 2001-2005. In 2006 and 2009 he faced charges in Catawba County that included assault on a female and resisting a public officer.

He was arrested more than 20 times in Buncombe County dating to 2007, all on misdemeanors except for his most recent animal cruelty charge. Many of the charges involved intoxication, disruptive behavior and trespassing, crimes frequently associated with homelessness.

Half of the charges were dismissed by the district attorney’s office and half resulted in a guilty plea, court records show. 

Henry was charged with assault with a deadly weapon twice in June 2016, once for assaulting someone with a skateboard at the main bus terminal downtown and a few days later for assaulting someone on Lexington Avenue, again with a skateboard, said Aardema, the police captain. During another incident in 2010, Aardema said, Henry was intoxicated at the now-defunct Hannah Flannagan’s on Biltmore Avenue and became angry with staff.

“He got kind of aggressive with them and eventually the staff asked him to leave and he pulled out a knife and actually brandished it at one of the employees,” Aardema said.

Henry’s mother said alcohol frequently led to fights. Henry would be at a bar and “someone would start something with him,” Hardy said. 

“That’s what he’s ended up in jail for most of the time,” Hardy said. “When he drinks, he’s just not himself.”

While being booked on one arrest, Henry listed his address as a homeless shelter, and another time, the county jail. The Merrimon Avenue address he provided after the arrest for last month’s dog attack does not exist.

Henry had several gaps in his arrest history, including no charges from June 2017 to an August 2022 charge of injury to personal property, according to court records.

“I’m not really sure if that means he went to another state during that time, or if he was institutionalized, or if he had gotten treatment and was actually living somewhere else and not committing crimes?” Aardema said. “I don’t know, and I don’t know that we will know.”

‘It made me sick all day’

Aardema said police may have been alerted to Henry in the days before the attack.

“I think there had been at least one in the prior days, (a) call about him just kind of in the North Asheville-Weaver Park area and not necessarily the park itself, but just kind of a suspicious person call,” Aardema said.

Police receive those calls “multiple times every day, which is there’s a person that’s kind of hanging around this area, and we’d like them checked out. That’s a call we probably get 20 times a day, all over the city. So the mere fact that the officers left without taking any sort of enforcement action or anything like that would mean that he was not committing any crimes.”

And, “if there’s no evidence to indicate that they’re a danger to themselves or others, which is kind of the baseline for an emergency commitment or an involuntary commitment…. our hands are kind of tied,” Aardema said.

Police have no record of another call involving Henry. “Not every call for service generates a name being documented,” said APD spokeswoman Samantha Booth.

On June 26, police received a 911 call at 3:12 p.m. and officers arrived at Weaver Park nine minutes later. Beignet, a 35-pound mixed breed, had been resting in the shade, leashed while her owner, Liesbeth Mackie, played pickleball on the adjacent courts. 

James Wesley Henry // Photo credit: Asheville Police Department

Henry emerged from the woods agitated, picked up Beignet and stabbed the dog “unprovoked,” Aardema said. 

Henry “dropped Beignet on the ground and turned around and walked away,” Aardema said. “Luckily, some of the bystanders in the park followed him.”

The shocking attack, first reported by Asheville Watchdog, garnered headlines across the nation and overseas and left witnesses shaken.

“It was so horrible,” said Sandy Buchanan, who was playing pickleball at the time of the attack. “It made me sick all day. Every time I think about it I get nauseated.”

David Karan, a pickleballer who arrived at the courts just as other players learned what happened, said he followed Henry in his car up Merrimon Avenue and relayed information to  police on the phone. 

Karan watched as officers arrived and said that Henry “had a smirk on his face” as he walked over to the police car. 

Flowers were placed at Weaver Park in remembrance of Beignet, a dog stabbed to death on June 26. // Watchdog photo by Barbara Durr.

Asked if police knew why Henry stabbed Beignet, Aardema said that information is included in the case file but he couldn’t discuss it. Henry’s attorney, Ehsan Akhavi with the Buncombe County Public Defender’s office, would not comment on the case.

Mackie and her husband declined comment for this story.

Two days after the stabbing, North Asheville Little League hosted a tournament at the park. As families set up lawn chairs and children ran freely around the park, league president and tournament director Rob Hooks said parents and volunteers were vigilant.

Emily Diznoff, the mother of a little league player, said she had just read about the stabbing minutes before she came to the tournament. She said events at the park always have felt safe.

“I have a teenager, so I’ve been coming here since he was doing little league, but I don’t know that (the stabbing) changes it for me either,” she said.

“I feel bad. Obviously, the person that did it needs help.”

Mental health, homelessness services unclear

It is unclear what mental health and homelessness services, if any, Henry received. His mother could not account for the same four years — 2018-2021 — during which he had faced no criminal charges in Buncombe. It’s also unclear if he came to Asheville for Veterans Affairs services.

Scott Rogers, executive director of the Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry, said the Veterans Restoration Quarters had no record of Henry. The VA works with ABCCM and refers patients to the ministry’s veteran services.

The VA also has housing and mental health services. It works with numerous local organizations — including Homeward Bound — to house veterans, according to Health Care for Homeless Veterans coordinator Joell Steininger.

It also runs the Veterans Justice Program in Buncombe, which is staffed by two social workers who are in contact with law enforcement, the jail, and the courts.

“The goal of that program is to provide timely access to VA services for eligible justice-involved veterans,” Western North Carolina VA mental health director Laura Tugman said. “They’re trying to avoid unnecessary criminalization and incarceration of veteran defendants and offenders with mental illness.”

Citing privacy, VA officials said they could not talk about Henry or say whether he had been treated or received services in Buncombe.

There were at least 195 homeless veterans in Buncombe in January, according to the most recent point-in-time count, an annual census of the homeless.

Mental illness among veterans can be a barrier to getting help, Rogers said. “These folks struggle with making any kind of connection, and that is a serious and persistent mental illness problem,” he said. 

Regardless of diagnosis, “that group of folks just struggles with breaking through that shell and that isolation, and it can persist for years,” he added.

“He needs a place to live”

Henry’s mother lives alone in Morganton on the third floor of Section 8 subsidized housing apartments and at age 68, walks with the aid of a cane. Her living room walls are bare except for a Biden-Harris campaign poster, pictures of her two sons, and a dark wood plaque commemorating Henry’s graduation from basic training in South Carolina on June 3, 1999.

She said she had not seen her son for some time, though he came to her apartment during last year’s Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays after a four-year absence.

He is a welcome companion, Hardy said.

 “He carries my groceries upstairs,” Hardy said. “Momma’s getting old. Momma needs help getting up and down the stairs. We sit here and talk. We talk about the past.”

Hardy said her son is homeless and was hospitalized in Asheville some months ago after he had a heart attack. Heart issues run in the family, she said.

Henry was around the Morganton area through at least March, Hardy said, spending time with his father who has a home in nearby Nebo and with Hardy.

Waverline Hardy holds a plaque commemorating her son James Wesley Henry’s graduation from U.S. Army basic training in 1999. // Watchdog photo by Andrew Jones

“I worry about my son, but all I can do is pray,” she said. “What else can I do?”

Hardy sympathizes with Henry, not just as a mother, but as someone who once was homeless and a drinker herself, she said. 

“I’m not putting him down, because I used to drink,” she said, adding she stopped because of blood pressure issues.

“I just want him to be safe,” Hardy said, noting that, above all else, her son “needs a place to live.”

Once the family considered getting Henry a trailer on his father’s property, some place where he could be alone. “He can’t really deal with people, you know, people bother him,” Hardy said.

One time she thought he might need to live in a group home, Hardy said. “But I don’t think he would like that.”

Hardy said she could not take her son in because his government benefits checks would make her ineligible to stay in her Section 8 apartment.

But she still keeps some of his clothes in her bedroom.

Reporters Sally Kestin, Barbara Durr, and John Boyle contributed to this story.

Asheville Watchdog is a nonprofit news team producing stories that matter to Asheville and Buncombe County. Andrew R. Jones is a Watchdog investigative reporter. Email arjones@avlwatchdog.org.

42 replies on “Accused dog killer is homeless, prone to alcohol-fueled volatility”

  1. Once the family considered getting Henry a trailer on his father’s property, some place where he could be alone. “He can’t really deal with people, you know, people bother him,” Hardy said.

    To me, this seems like a more prudent and loving solution than providing housing in a city where Henry has no ties or support. There are many homeless stories and many solutions. Not all involve providing a roof here.

    1. This guy is a monster and doesn’t deserve any sympathy whatsoever. He took out his frustrations on the most helpless innocent victim he could find. He tried to flee afterwards. He knew what he was doing and is not crazy….he is evil. My heart goes out to the family who lost their beloved canine companion not this waste of skin named Henry. It’s unfortunate that taxpayers will now have to support him in prison while dogs who never hurt anyone will be given the needle. Should be the other way around.

      1. What’s incorrect about your way of thinking is that you are projecting and assuming that this person thinks and behaves like you would. What you don’t understand is that I would genuinely be surprised if this individual even had the capacity or lucid ability to identify Beignet as a dog. He probably saw something else that was perceived as a threat to himself. Does this make sense? No. Many individuals that I am worked with who are stabilized with medication management and appropriate services are horrified by the actions they took when left to battle their own mind. They don’t think like we do. This is why locking them up or lethal injection, as you suggested, will not work. They will not understand those consequences without medical treatment. Once they receive medical treatment, there is no desire to act out as they once did.

  2. Clearly he has issues. That doesn’t change the fact that no one wants him in their neighborhoods or parks. Asheville has a responsibility to keep it’s residents safe but yet the city is crawling with short-fused, mentally ill drunks and drug addicts. Why are they flocking here?

    1. Many rehabs are dropping them off here or other larger cities because that’s where the programs, halfway houses, etc are. The system is broken. Jimmy Carter pass the mental health act when he was in office and Ronald Reagan repealed it when he got in the office. We have nothing solid to offer these people any help anymore. After Ronald Reagan gotten office, they just threw them out in the streets with nowhere to go, because there is nothing to finance them to get help. Thanks, Ronnie!

      1. That is just more partisan blame game. There are really good programs in Buncombe County that are helping people. The WNC Rescue Mission is helping hundreds of people to turn their lives around, and ABCCM is working with the VA for homeless vets. Making excuses for violent behavior only compounds the problem, let alone blaming someone from 40 years ago.

  3. It’s scary that it could have been a person that this man attacked and killed as easily as he did a leashed dog. A person like this does not need to have an opportunity to do something like this again.
    He needs to either be committed or be in jail.

  4. Forgot to mention my two experiences with dangerous, mentally ill homeless men. One in Sacramento , one in Asheville. The first, after I said hello to him, threw a goose egg sized rock at my head. A downtown ambassador saw and called police, who said he’d been in and out of jail for 10 years. I sent a letter to the mayor, begging for mental health care for the man instead of another round of jail. I told the mayor this happened on a busy downtown street. What if the thrower had thrown the rock into traffic? You can imagine the consequences. I gave his name and case number to the mayor and said the burden for subsequent change was now on his desk. No passing of the buck. He responded that he was searching for a mental health treatment bed and the police later said one had been found, but it was temporary unless the man chose to stay on his meds. We all know how that ends.

    The second was an intoxicated homeless man waving around a hatchet on downtown Biltmore Ave. It took the cops a half hour to show up. They had a friendly chat with the guy and drove away, WITHOUT CONFISCATING THE HATCHET.

    I am sick and tired of public safety taking a back seat to enabling of dangerous people. What will it take to shift this dysfunctional mess? I’m all for paying higher taxes to build quality public mental health hospitals as long as treatment is made mandatory. There is no public safety without that. We all know it, including the homeless enabling industry fat on wasted tax money.

  5. Henry is yet another example of why “Low Barrier Housing” is not the answer for 99% of the chronically homeless. This is a highly dysfunctional group of people who need long term care in a psychiatric updated state mental institution. Sending addicts and severely mentally ill people into housing without any daily mandatory recovery program will create housing with drug dealing, drug use, danger to the housing itself and to the immediate surrounding neighborhood.

    Fasten your seatbelt East Asheville, because it’s only going to get worse with the Days Inn project opening up. Remember some of you didn’t want the Asheville Mall updated? That would have brought hundreds of functional people living in apartments on site, state of the art movie theaters for our locals to enjoy and a major facelift to our struggling mall. This project wouldn’t have removed a single tree! Our city council get’s an F for scaring away the developers. Tunnel Road is about to get worse.

    “Housing First” is a failure. Just look at what has happened to San Francisco, Seattle, Portland and CA cities that employed this model. It attracted more destitute people to those cities.

    Wake up Asheville, we are about to slide further downhill. Our leaders are moving us towards an endless cycle of writing grants to build free housing for desperate people who are not from Asheville. And if you support this model, will you be willing to live beside it or have your office within a few blocks of it? Will you want the chronically homeless to set up a tent in your backyard? I highly doubt it. It is easy to support a model that will never impact you.

    We are about to explode with more Henry’s. They go to cities where they can get easy drugs and constant support brought to them in the streets. Asheville brings people fresh needles, food, tents and whatever they need. It is no wonder there is no incentive to get off the streets when our city and our judicial system enables this to continue without setting any real boundaries.

    1. Absolutely not. It’s why I voted against the affordable housing bond and keep pushing back against all those fools who clamor for Asheville For All. Just a bunch of subsidies for tourists and transients. I do believe the world would be a better place if everyone had a roof over their head, but the low barrier b.s. is complete b.s. Asheville is getting played by their own fools.

      1. Agreed! The focus should be on both supporting new apartment projects inside the city limits and affordable housing. Period the end. The “Housing First” model is a flop and they are careful to sidestep how they collect data to make it look like their program works. Yet one visit to a Housing First City and you will see with your eyes a very different story. God forbid they allow sanctuary camping in our city. If that is allowed by policy, it’s all over for Asheville.

        The other lie is that “Housing First” tells cities with expensive housing that THIS is the reason why we have so many homeless. False. We have a problem because we are totally enabling people to come here and set up camp, do drugs wherever they want and panhandle wherever they want.

        What would happen if we enforced the existing policies on the books? OMG, we might look like those other cities we love to visit…Greenville, Charleston, Washington DC. City Council and County Commissioners, please attend a few open AA meetings. Any addict in recovery will tell you that enabling doesn’t work and that the sheer discomfort of living in the streets, going to jail either woke them up or their friends died. It’s not our job to save people who don’t want to be saved. If it worked, there wouldn’t be recovery programs for family’s of addicts who finally gave up because their own lives had become unmanageable.

        The Homeless Organizations are mini-lobbies. Vijay Kapoor wrote his swan song goodbye letter of how non-profit organizations have undue influence and power in our city. Follow the money. Look at who receives grant funding from both the city and the county.

        It’s time we return to basic infrastructure needs in our city and deliver the normal expectations of thriving cities: Good Schools, a Safe City, a solid water system, sidewalks, parks for children and families, maintenance and a clean well lit city. You know…what we used to be.

        1. What the city also needs to consider is taking care of the residents who desire to give back to the community. I recently graduated with my Master’s in clinical mental health specializing in crisis management and trauma. The mental health field, especially agency work, is notorious for not paying well. With the housing prices it is no longer affordable to live here. So Asheville is pricing out the people who desire to serve the community, but are unable to do so because the city’s pay does not match the true cost of living here. It was only a few years ago when AFD advocated for higher pay because the majority of the city’s firefighters lived outside of Asheville and they desired to live in the community they served. Not a lot to ask for.

          1. Yes, I’ve long advocated for housing subsidies (or down payment assistance) for teachers, law enforcement, mental health professionals and other actual ‘essential’ workers. Beer and baseball are ‘nice-to-haves’, but in the end not essential to anyone not raking in windfall sums of money from (heavily subsidized) tourism and development. (I’ve worked nearly two decades with persons with mental/physical disabilities, still earning below a livable wage.)

        2. EM, email me please! I want to hear more about your knowledge of low barrier shelters for a project I am working on.

  6. The story says “veteran”, but neglects to say if he was honorably discharged or boarded out. Which is it? His mother’s comments make it sound more the latter. If so, he’s not a veteran. How about filling in the rest of the story?

    1. Thanks for reading the piece and posing the question. We weren’t able to confirm some information about Henry, including some details about his military service. We will continue to try to fill in some gaps.

  7. Permanent residency in a State Mental Health Residence is the answer.
    Sometimes the perfect answer just doesn’t exist. A roof over his head only works if it’s 24/7 supervised and he is sober and on any meds he needs to remain stable. Society didn’t fail him.
    His mental health did. He needs help and constant supervision.

  8. Thank you AVL Watchdog for following up with Henry. His plight underscores the troubling times we’re in and the lack of a central authority to handle and coordinate resources for those living out on the streets.

  9. Sounds like you are trying to excuse the behavior due to life’s circumstances for this man. Sorry, but if we looked into anyone who has committed an horrendous crime we could come up with a sad back story. This man is a danger to society and needs to be dealt with. Please stop using the phrase “he is a veteran”. That does not automatically qualify him for sainthood. Many of these men were troubled before they went into the military and the family encourages them to join hoping the military can “straighten them out”. It rarely does. So stop trying to give this man a pass due to his difficult past. Most of us have had a difficult past and we don’t do this kind of thing!

    1. Gail, I assure you we are not trying to excuse what happened. Our goal is to report the news factually and fairly, and we’ve done so here. The story describes the savagery of the attack and the trauma that has been inflicted on the dog owners and witnesses. It makes no excuses for the attack. It paints a fuller picture of the accused following our initial reporting on the crime.

  10. I hope this “man” gets the treatment he needs and is not released into the public.

  11. Thank you for telling all sides of this sad story. I am a formerly homeless veteran who has dealt with mental health issues and alcohol addiction. I went through rehab at the Asheville V.A. in 2008 and then spent 22 months at ABCCM’s Veteran’s Restoration Quarters. Through the V.A. HUD – VASH program I received a Section 8 housing voucher in 2010 and have maintained stable housing since that time. I have been alcohol free since the beginning of 2012.
    I have received amazing help from the caring caseworkers at the HUD-VASH program, the people at ABCCM, and all the healthcare workers at the V.A.
    I realize that my success story is rare and it has taken hard work and active participation in my recovery to remain sober and housed.
    In my opinion low barrier housing is just a temporary tool to address unhoused peoples immediate needs. Treatment for mental illness and addiction requires structure and accountability with the patient willing and able to participate in their treatment. Treatment for veterans is available for those that want it. Some, like Mr Henry, are unwilling or unable to accept that treatment. I wish I had the answers.

    1. Thanks for your comments. Your first-hand knowledge should show this city that the unhoused community is very much like the housed community–not all alike. The unhoused community needs to be divided into subgroups determined by situations, needs as well as personal ability/accountability and initiative to accept help and/or treatment, among other things. Mr. Henry would likely need a great deal of supervision and treatment before becoming my neighbor; others currently on the street might not. But it’s a major failure to expect little to no effort on the part of the unhoused.

    2. Thank you for your testimonial. ABCCM is a fantastic non-profit and really the best one in Asheville with truly measurable outcomes. They are a hand-up vs a handout. If a Veteran wants to get off the streets, our city and country wants to help them and there are services. Low Barrier is basically just giving addicts a more private and secure place to do and deal drugs. The Ramada Inn is the example of a totally failed project.

  12. Absolutely agree with the many CORRECT comments that he must be placed permanently in a psychiatric facility where he can get daily mandated treatment. Medication, therapy, etc.
    If he is truly just 100% evil, and he might be, he will still be locked up for life.
    If he is mentally ill, he will get forced treatment so he can never be violent again.

  13. I am forced to deal with the mentally ill and homeless along Merrimon Avenue everyday as I work in that corridor. I’m done. Stop making Asheville so attractive to these deranged individuals. Like many others on this thread have said, they need 24/7 supervision in a mental facility. Get them off the streets, out of our parks and neighborhoods and house them in an institution. Increase funding for that, not personal housing as pushed in the Housing First movement.

  14. If he was sane enough to give a phony address when he was stopped by the police, that indicates he was likely sane when he killed the dog a short time earlier.

  15. Sane, not sane, drug addicted, evil, doesn’t matter. This man and many like him in Asheville must be taken off the streets now not some day in the future. The drug addicted are flocking to Asheville due to lack of enforcement (on basically anything):
    free needles, free food, anything they need to stay high. How many stabbings will it take?

    1. You are right on this one. Word has spread in the transient community that AVL is very lax in its enforcement.

  16. EM, email me please! I want to hear more about your knowledge of low barrier shelters for a project I am working on.

  17. A homeless woman with issues just allegedly killed an elderly lady in Hendersonville who was trying to help her. Did the lady’s family know she had befriended a drug addicted psychopath? Families need to check in more on vulnerable family members. Show up.
    We don’t know who is in the mix of the homeless population. We are living in unprecedented times. Homeless everywhere. Rampant fentanyl addictions. Failed mental health system and families that can’t or won’t help their own yet we are all worried about who brought their cocaine to the white house.

  18. “Hardy said she could not take her son in because his government benefits checks would make her ineligible to stay in her Section 8 apartment.”
    It seems her Section 8 housing is more important to her than the well-being of her son. Does she not feel any guilt or remorse for her actions?

  19. While there is certainly more that can be done at a societal level, the first and most important level of support is immediate family. Based on the article, it seems that immediate family didn’t do much to help him.

    1. Actually this article reported that Henry’s family offered him housing on their property. That certainly qualifies as support. If this is the case he was not actually destitute and homeless. He clearly chose drinking, drugs, and being a menace to the citizens of Asheville instead.

  20. This:
    “Hardy said she could not take her son in because his government benefits checks would make her ineligible to stay in her Section 8 apartment.” With both of their govt checks combined they likely wouldn’t be able to afford market rent. Maybe the government needs to rethink these oppressive rules amidst the housing crisis. Family should be the first line of support but so often not the case. The military still does a horrible job addressing PTSD. They’ve downplayed it forever to get soldiers back in combat quickly. No justification for his bad acts but he was a ticking time bomb.

  21. Thank you for the editors note you added. Putting it at the top of the story shows how important accurate reporting is to you guys.

  22. Are you kidding?! You wrote an article that sympathizes with the man who stabbed an innocent dog to death because he has a drinking problem, mental issues and is homeless? Of course he has mental problems, or else he wouldn’t have killed an innocent dog! DO NOT MINIMIZE SUCH A HORRENDOUS ACT!!! This behavior should not be excused with pity. He needs to be locked up FOREVER!!!!! It was a dog this time, but will next time be a child? What will it take for City Council and our DA to wake up and fix the rising crime problem in Asheville?!?! Shame on you for being “soft” with that monster!

    1. Gina, our article doesn’t sympathize with Henry. The story describes the stabbing and the trauma it has inflicted on the dog’s owners, witnesses and folks who frequent Weaver Park. We detailed Henry’s extensive criminal history as well. We reported on his mental health and drinking issues as well, quoting police who were familiar with his volatility. We were not “soft” in our reporting.

  23. Knowing other families that have had to deal with their mentally ill, I can almost guarantee the family has done everything humanly possible for their loved one; it’s just too big of a task.

    To protect the public and himself, someone like this poor soul needs to be institutionalized.

    But our State has not seen fit to provide the facilities and funding for well run regional institutions that are needed. This is where a good chunk of the problem resides.

    I don’t believe institutionalization is the solution for all of the homeless situation, so please don’t jump on that bandwagon, but it clearly is desparately needed for some, perhaps many cases.

    Otherwise, the next best alternative to protect the public, is jail; however, that “system” (judges/magistrates, DA, sheriff) has essentially refused to incarcarate these people; something that was done more routinely in decades past.

    A good part of the “solution” lies in with our State leadership in Raleigh. But to do that, other “priorities” would have to take a back seat and no one is willing to make those changes.

  24. I will not buy the PTSD excuse or the drinking excuse. This guy is a freak of nature and needs to be dealt with accordingly. Asheville welcomes these people and after working in transit for 10 years I have heard every story about how to get over on people and police, bipolar, schizophrenic, and depressed. They would talk about how to use these to panhandle, and deal with police, or anyone who questioned their being. It is a game folk and only about 5% are legit mental.

Comments are closed.