GREENVILLE, S.C. — The woman who authorities accuse of killing four members of her family for insurance money had debilitating mental problems and suffered brain damage several years ago in a beating, said her attorney, family and friend.
Susan Hendricks was charged this week with four counts of murder in the shooting deaths of her two sons, ex-husband and stepmother nearly two weeks ago in her home and a house next door in Liberty.
Donna Drafts, a friend who lived in Hendricks’ home for several years, told The Greenville News that Hendricks was a good mother who provided for her sons. She said she asked Hendricks after the killings if she did it or could have done it and didn’t remember pulling the trigger because of her memory loss.
“If she did this, she didn’t do it because she is an evil person,” Drafts said. “She is a sick person. She is not evil.”
Hendricks’ attorney told the newspaper he has only begun his own investigation of the case and isn’t sure how Hendricks’ mental problems could affect her case.
Investigators, however, said she was the beneficiary of life insurance policies on all the victims.
Hendricks, 48, worked for years at General Electric in Greenville, but left her job after suffering brain damage and memory loss when she was beaten up after trying to defend her older son, said Hendricks’ brother, James Robert Burns Jr.
Pickens County deputies said Hendricks told officers who came to her home the morning of the shootings that her older son, 23-year-old Matthew Hendricks, killed himself. A gun was found on a bedside table near his body, and Hendricks told investigators he had drug problems and had been suicidal.
The body of Hendricks’ stepmother, 64-year-old Linda Ann Burns, was found inside another bedroom in Hendricks’ home. Next door, authorities found the bodies of Mark Wayne Hendricks, 52, and Marshall Wayne Hendricks, 20. Both had been shot in the chest.