Hendricks was tried the following year — the trial was moved to Rockford, Illinois, 133 miles away from Bloomington — and he was found guilty. Doubts were raised as to his guilt, however, due to the prosecution's reliance on circumstantial evidence and anti-religious bias.
Among other factors, the prosecution attempted to link the murders to Hendricks's belief that divorce was a sin. The prosecution argued that since Hendricks did not believe in divorce, his only way out of his marriage was to kill his wife and children.
Although two weapons were found and the blood spatters pointed to two perpetrators, the prosecution argued for Hendricks's sole guilt and his lawyers missed some key pieces of evidence (one was the proposed order of killings). There were also some clear signs of bungled evidence, such as the containers of the children's stomach contents (one of the children's "stomach content" vials contained food that she disliked).
Despite the inconsistencies and the prosecution's circumstantial case, Hendricks was found guilty and was sentenced to four consecutive life sentences. He served seven years in Menard Correctional Center in Illinois. He remarried while in prison.
In 1991, he was acquitted and released after a retrial at the McLean County Law and Justice Center in Bloomington.
He is on his fourth marriage, and currently lives in Orlando, Florida and sold his last business within the last three years.
In popular culture
- Steve Vogel, "Reasonable Doubt", St. Martin's True Crime Classics, 1992. ISBN 0-312-92908-0
- Jessica Snyder Sachs, "Corpse: Nature, Forensics, and the Struggle to Pinpoint Time of Death", Basic Books (2001), ISBN 0-7382-0771-3, ISBN 978-0-7382-0771-1
- Roger Panes - Brethren member who killed his wife and three children with an axe in 1974.