NEWPORT NEWS—On March 11, Sheila Henderson begged her son's probation officer one last time for help.
Two years after he was molested by a family friend, Terrence Ca'Pre Henderson's confusion and anger over that sexual assault had grown into a burning rage.
She pleaded, yelling at times, for the probation officer to find a reason to take her son into custody and off the streets.
The probation officer agreed that the teenager everybody knew as "Pre" needed help. He said he was trying, but the process was slow. He noted in the files that Pre was "a time bomb." He called a therapist.
It was too late. Pre never talked to the therapist, and four days later he ran away from home.
Shortly after 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 16, Pre ambushed a young sailor he had never met before, shot him six times at close range and left him to die slumped in the front seat of his Acura.
Pre might never have met Bobby Southworth if the 20-year-old Navy sailor hadn't been looking for a gun.
Southworth, a native of Williston, Fla., was living on the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise while it was being repaired at the Newport News shipyard. According to court testimony, he had asked his girlfriend's brother, James Miles, to help him buy a gun. Southworth would soon be transferred to a post in Chicago, and thought he needed the gun for safety, Miles said.
Southworth's mother, Patricia McCammon, doesn't believe much of Miles' account of her son's death. She doesn't question that he might have been seeking a weapon - his family said he relished imitating the gangster lifestyle he saw portrayed in rap videos. But McCammon doesn't know why he would have needed a gun, and she doesn't know why he would have tried to buy it on the streets of Newport News.
His step-father, Norman McCammon, often cautioned Southworth to be careful. Compared to life in the small Florida town where he grew up the Peninsula's urban neighborhoods provided a dangerous array of problems, his stepfather feared.
About 4:30 p.m. on March 16, Southworth called his mother in Florida. She was working at a child-care center in the local YMCA. It was the start of evening rush and parents were picking up their children. McCammon didn't have time to talk.
"I'm with some 'bros,' " she remembers him saying.
" 'We're just cruisin'." It was the last time she talked to him.
At 5:55 p.m. he withdrew money from a Navy Federal Credit Union ATM in Norfolk, according to court testimony. Then he arranged to meet Miles.
LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON
Few people, if any, call Pre by his first name, Terrence. His mother hates it. She wanted to name him after Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Pre's grandmother wouldn't hear of it. So Terrence it was. But from a very early age he has been known simply as Pre.
He was raised largely by his mother and, at times, her boyfriends. They lived in poor neighborhoods, including the family's last home on 25th Street. His mother hasn't had steady employment in years. She worked part-time on and off this year cleaning offices in Hampton.
His father, Paul Taylor fostered a reputation as a man to be feared. In 1995 he went to jail for murder.