Bakari Henderson’s parents speak out about son’s killing as second murder trial approaches

The 22-year-old was beaten to death on the Greek island of Zakynthos in 2017, due to an argument over a selfie

The parents of Bakari Henderson are speaking out in their first interview with Gayle King before they return to Greece for a retrial in their son’s murder case. 

Henderson, 22, was reportedly beaten to death on the Greek island of Zakynthos in 2017, due to an argument over a selfie, according to witnesses.

Phil and Jill Henderson, the parents of Bakari Henderson (Credit: CBS Mornings)

“Somebody getting beaten to death? Over a selfie? It just makes no sense,” said Bakari’s mother, Jill Henderson, in an interview with King that aired Thursday on CBS Mornings. “It’s very hard to imagine that people would have that much hate to do something to another human being.”

Henderson was at a bar on the island and wanted to take a selfie with one of the waitresses, which reportedly angered the bouncer, theGrio previously reported. The woman told investigators that when she posed with the young entrepreneur, a man nearby said, “There are a lot of Serbs in the bar. Why are you talking to a Black guy?”

The man assaulted reportedly assaulted Henderson before Henderson defended himself by striking the man back. The brawl moved outside, where a mob of men chased him down the street and beat him to death.

Henderson was left unconscious in the street. He died from severe head injuries. The entire incident was caught on surveillance video.

The trial for the nine men accused of beating Bakari was held in Greece and all were found not guilty of murder. The prosecutor ordered a retrial on the same charges and it has been delayed for more than two years.

The retrial is scheduled to begin on Feb. 21.

“Their life is in limbo,” King said of the victim’s parents. “Because they don’t have closure.”

“Bakari loved to travel, he loved meeting people,” King said to PEOPLE of the Texas native.

“His life was taken away in 30 seconds — in 30 seconds!” she added. “That just doesn’t make any sense to me. This kid who had always done all the right things.”

King is bringing attention to the case that has largely been ignored by mainstream media in America. 

“It’s been a lot of highs, but mostly lows, trying to process the grief,” Jill Henderson said. “I would say the hardest thing has been feeling like I’m not always doing the best that I can by my other two children… because I spend so much time focused on Bakari, and the retrial, and just trying to keep his legacy alive because I miss him so much.”

Bakari Henderson (Credit: YouTube screenshot)

During the first trial, the couple sat behind the men accused of killing their son –  five Serbian nationals and a British man of Serbian descent.

“It was rough,” said Phil Henderson, the victim’s father. “They were there to have a good time just like he was there to have a good time. I just kept saying to myself, ‘If they only would have gotten to know him, they would have loved him.'”

Jill Henderson noted that the men had “no real respect for the fact that we were there, grieving,” as they were allowed to hug their families in the courtroom.

“And I’m like, ‘Really? You’re doing that in front of us? And we’ll never get to do that with our son?'”

Next week, the couple will return to Greece for the fifth time for the retrial of seven of the nine men who fatally beat their son. The accused are being retried for murder, according to the report.

“I just truly hope that, this time, that they really view Bakari as a child of God and the human that he is, and view him as somebody that could be their brother, their son, their grandson, their nephew, their friend,” said Jill. “So, I mean, I really want them to be able to understand that when they’re doing the sentencing this time.”

Phil Henderson added, “I don’t think they view us Black people the same as they do white people over there. And I felt that in the trial, and the results of the trial, is that they treated and felt like he was less than a man.”

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