NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A judge has found probable cause to send the case against a man accused of killing and decapitating a man to a grand jury.
Henry James Baxter, 37, was in court Thursday for a preliminary hearing. The judge also ruled Baxter will remain jailed on $750,000 bond.
During the hearing, a Metro police detective testified that Baxter initially told him he killed 48-year-old Erman Thompson because he was threatening his wife, Ashly Thompson. Baxter allegedly said Thompson often said he would kill Ashly Thompson if she ever left him.
Police originally said Baxter told them he shot Thompson in the head after an argument last Sunday and used a shovel to decapitate him Monday. The head was found in a trash can last Friday, a day after the body was found in a field by a mail carrier.
The detective testified Thursday Baxter told him during questioning that he "decapitated Erman Thompson because he was angry with him."
Ashly told NewsChannel 5 on Friday that she knew her husband was dead on Monday, but she was too scared to call police. The detective said Ashly told them Baxter said Erman was killed by members of MS13, but she said she didn't believe him.
He also said that Baxter only confessed to killing Erman after they told him Ashly was taking the blame. The detective said it was obvious Baxter cared about Ashly Thompson.
Detectives have said Baxter lived at Thompson's home along with Ashly and her three children. Baxter was the father of one of the children.
The detective told the courtroom that Baxter was excited when he confessed to the murder. He said Baxter was "bright-eyed, like he couldn't wait to tell them what happened."
After Thursday's court hearing, NewsChannel 5 sat down with Erman Thompson's daughter and best friend.
Both said the testimony at Baxter's preliminary hearing was hard to hear without getting emotional.
"There were some things brought up that I hadn't heard, and it just hit me like a ton of bricks," said his friend Gary Basham.
A grand jury could get the case in the next three to six months. Thompson's loved ones are hopeful they'll come back with an indictment.