‘Absolutely horrific’: Police believe murder of Lakeland commissioner, husband was random act

Polk County

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Police have made an arrest in the killings of former Lakeland city commissioner Edie Yates Henderson and her husband David Henderson.

Marcelle Waldon, 36, is charged with 10 felony counts, including first-degree capital murder in connection with the killings, which happened at the couple’s home on Lake Morton Drive, according to police.

Edie Yates Henderson. (Source: City of Lakeland)

Police believe Waldon got into the home through an unlocked door, and said the crime scene was “absolutely horrific” after he allegedly stabbed the couple to death. Police believe Waldon had tried to set their home on fire. When they got to the home, the stove was “gassed” and every single burner had been turned on, police said.

They described the act as random.

“I’ve been doing this for 32 years and I can count on one hand the number of times that the victim has no relationship, and we can find no nexus between the victim and the suspects, so it’s extremely rare for something like this to occur,” Det. Sam Taylor of the Lakeland Police Department said.

Police said someone nearby saw Waldon leaving the home with jewelry and other personal items. Police also recovered a 2016 Audi that was taken from the home and set on fire near Oregon Avenue.

“We think that it was a random act. We don’t, as far as we know – have not been able to locate any relation between him and the victims,” Taylor said. “There may in fact be a relationship that we’re able to determine down the road, but we do not at this point in the investigation have any reason or any reason to believe that he knew either one of the victims at all.”

This photo shows Marcell Waldon following an arrest in 2019. (Source: Florida Department of Corrections)

Police said Waldon has a lengthy criminal record that includes arrests for battery, burglary, resisting arrest, larceny and weapons charges.

He is being held at the Polk County Jail without bond. He appeared in court Thursday and said very little to the judge.

“I want to be very honest with you. I worked with Edie very closely for 12 years as a city commissioner. I had a tear fall from my eye. I was just in shock,” said Kevin Cook, a Lakeland city spokesman and family friend.

Todd and Sarah Baylis, along with Will Henderson, issued the following statement:

We wish to thank everyone at the Lakeland Police Department, detectives and everyone who has helped us over the past few days to understand this tragic event.

Your diligence and continued effort in bringing those responsible to justice is deeply appreciated. We are comforted to know that a suspect has been apprehended, but nothing can truly compensate for the loss to our family and our community.

We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers from family, friends and the entire community. We truly feel the love and support, and we are forever grateful for that support and respect for privacy during this time.

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