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San Diego County Digest

Ramona

October 10, 1985

A Poway man tearfully pleaded guilty to murder Wednesday in Municipal Court in the April 9 slayings of a former girlfriend and her 6-year-old son in Ramona.

Thomas Curby Henderson, 33, could face 40 years to life in state prison for the strangling of Deborah Cooney, 32, and the bludgeoning death of David Michael Cooney.

Municipal Judge Richard Haden scheduled a Dec. 3 sentencing for Henderson, who has been held in County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bail since his arrest Sept. 9.

Henderson changed his pleas to guilty of second-degree murder in killing the woman and first-degree murder in the death of the boy after a plea bargain was worked out between Deputy Dist. Atty. William Woodward and public defender Bill Youmans.

After the trial, Deborah Cooney's father, Carroll Meyers of Rancho Bernardo, said, "I'm not willing to accept second-degree for the murder of our daughter."

Cooney, a housekeeper in North County homes, and her son were missing nearly five months before Henderson, an unemployed equipment operator, led detectives to their shallow grave on Ramona Water District land in the San Diego Country Estates area.

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