Lee John Henry pleads guilty to 2013 Homer killing

Henry has been awaiting trial since 2016

Lee John Henry, who was accused in the killing of a Homer man 10 years ago, pleaded guilty to manslaughter on Feb. 22, according to a Homer Police Department press release.

Henry was accused in the July 28, 2013, killing of Mark Matthews, 61, of Homer.

According to police, at approximately 10:15 p.m., walkers on the Boys Town Trail in Homer reported via 911 that they had discovered a white male with obvious head injuries lying off the side of the trails. Homer Police officers and Homer Volunteer Fire Department personnel responded and found Matthews dead from severe head trauma.

Henry, of Homer, was arrested in 2016 and charged with the murder.

Homer police released few details about the case but from the start had treated Matthew’s death as suspicious, according to previous Homer News reporting.

The case went unsolved for three years until Homer police arrested Henry in 2016. He was indicted on one count of first-degree murder, three counts of second-degree murder, one count of manslaughter and one count of first-degree robbery.

The robbery charge alleged that Henry used force to attempt to take or take property from Matthews. Before he died, Matthews had received a $250 Western Union Moneygram. Police found the pockets of Matthews’ pants turned inside out, according to officials.

Since his arrest, Henry has been at Wildwood Pretrial Facility awaiting resolution of the case.

Henry was originally scheduled for a jury trial in November 2019 but there were delays to case because of a dispute over what DNA evidence could be used in the trial. There was a further delay due to the COVID pandemic, according to previous Homer News reporting.

Home Police Chief Mark Robl reported by email and a follow-up phone call that nothing has happened on the case over the past few years in Homer directly. The district attorney notified the Homer Police Department of “a change of plea hearing and we don’t know what instigated it,” he said.

Lee is scheduled for a sentencing hearing on June 28. He remains incarcerated at Wildwood Pretrial Facility.

Emilie Springer can be reached at emilie.springer@homernews.com