CHICAGO CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — The mother of Nova Henry, the ex-girlfriend of former Bull Eddy Curry who was murdered along with the couple's 10-month old daughter, said Wednesday morning the journey leading up to the conviction of her daughter's killer this week "has been long and painful."
"No mother, no father, no brother, no sister, no cousin and no friend should ever have to endure the journey that we have," Henry said Wednesday at Chicago's criminal courthouse.
Tuesday night, a jury found Frederick Goings, a Chicago attorney, guilty of two counts of first degree murder in the slayings of Henry's daughter, Nova Henry, and her granddaughter, Ava Henry-Curry. Goings was in an "on-and-off" relationship with Henry, prosecutors said.
Goings, portrayed as a "greedy lawyer" and abusive lover, murdered Nova Henry and the 10-month-old daughter of the basketball star on Jan. 24, 2009, Goings' birthday. He is expected to serve life in prison for the murders, prosecutors said.
Henry's mother, who found the lifeless bodies after the murders, said news of the guilty verdict was a relief.
"It was like having a building lifted off of my chest," Henry said. "It was elation."
But Henry said her family's "hearts ache" knowing Nova Henry's last minutes of her life were filled with pain. The mother took the opportunity to address other women who may be in abusive relationships. She pleaded that any woman who is being abused "take charge" of her life and leave.
"No one should live in fear of their life ever. Nova was afraid," Henry said, pausing to compose herself. "So if you know someone or it is you that is involved in a domestic violence situation, listen to that voice that tells you to leave because you can leave and you can have a healthy life."
Goings left Curry and Nova Henry's other child, Noah, unharmed, and the boy later told his grandmother that Goings was the killer, according to Yolan Henry's testimony.
Henry said Eddy Curry now has custody of Noah.
Attorneys representing Goings did not comment after the verdict. But during the trial they argued that the evidence against Goings was circumstantial.
Prosecutors argued that Goings, now 40, had "dollar signs in his eyes" in 2006 when he met Henry, who wanted to take the millionaire Curry, a Harvey native with whom she had two children, to court in a paternity case.
Goings agreed to take the case, and the two also got involved in a romantic relationship, prosecutors said. But on the night of the murders he went to Henry's townhome and found Henry and the new lawyer she had hired were contesting $24,000 Goings had billed her.
Goings shot Henry and Ava multiple times and left them to die in a "pool of their own blood" before driving his black SUV to Michigan City, Ind., where he rented a hotel room, prosecutors said. Police followed him, they said, and watched from a distance as he walked into the woods and then the hotel pool "without his bathing suit" to wash himself before police arrested him and charged him with the murders.
Dawn Dalton, director of the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women's Network, appeared with Henry as she spoke to reporters Wednesday.
Dalton said she wants to see communities address the issue of domestic violence and see prevention taught in public schools. Dalton called domestic violence an "epidemic" across the country.
"What I want to know from the Chicago community is when will it be enough?" Dalton said.
She said in the Chicago area there are 200,000 domestic disturbance calls to 911 per year. She said police reports are filed in about 30 percent of those calls.