David Hendricks Biography
I’ve led an unusual life. I grew up in a fundamental Christian family, went to school to learn prosthetics and orthotics, got married, had three children, did missionary work in Bolivia, started a prosthetic-orthotic practice, invented a new orthopedic brace, and started a successful business manufacturing and distributing spinal braces. I was 29.
Then tragedy struck. In November of 1983 I arrived home from a business trip to discover a police cordon around my house. From the moment I arrived, I was the first and only suspect in the slayings of my wife and our three children and, one traumatizing year later, I found myself convicted of a quadruple murder and given a never-get-out prison sentence.
In prison, while searching for inmates to associate with, I met Henry Hillenbrand, who was serving a 390-year sentence for a double murder. In spite of what he had done, he seemed like a decent person, and a friendship formed between us. He was a non-stop storyteller—not the kind of jabber mouth that makes you want to hang yourself—but the kind who had tales to tell and the talent to tell them. I suggested collecting his anecdotes for a book and we arranged to cell together to do so.
It took the Illinois courts seven years to figure out I was not guilty and, in early 1991, I was released. I returned to the practice of orthotics and prosthetics, then moved to Florida where, in 2003, I started an orthopedic manufacturing company. I sold that business in December of 2009, leaving me the time and the money to write the long-overdue Tom Henry.
As I recently told a friend who was commenting on my success, “I’ve led a charmed life—if you don’t count that one part in the middle that was pure hell.”