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Grand Jury Refuses To Indict Man For Murder Of Daughter

May 2, 1991

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) _ A man accused of killing his 11-year-old daughter, who suffered from a rare genetic condition, will not face murder charges after a grand jury refused to indict him.

Michael Hensley, 35, was cleared Wednesday of the murder charge in connection with the March 24 death of his daughter, Yvonne Hensley. Her cause of death was listed as asphyxiation, and her death certificate said she was ″probably suffocated with a pillow.″

District Attorney Nathan Stansbury said it was the toughest case he has ever taken to a grand jury.

The panel heard a statement Hensley gave police shortly after Yvonne’s death in which he admitted placing a pillow over his daughter’s face.

″I put the pillow over her head ... and I was crying,″ Hensley told police. ″And I was just begging and crying to God, you know, help. You can’t get much lower than that.″

Hensley told police that he did it for his daughter, who had suffered for nine years with Tay-Sachs disease, a fatal, genetic, neuromuscular condition that left her in a nearly vegetative state.

″It was just for the sake of her,″ he said. ″I mean, if I have to go through hell here and she can be in heaven, it’s worth it.″

Hensley and his wife, Gretchen, have two other children.

Alana, 9, also suffers from the genetic disorder, while Sarah, the couple’s 3-year-old adopted daughter, does not suffer from Tay-Sachs.

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