NEW CASTLE, Pa. (WKBN) – A New Castle mother says justice was not served after the man who killed her son was convicted of voluntary manslaughter instead of murder.

Amari Wise was 19 years old when he was shot in the back of his head during an argument.

Amari had five siblings and he was the father of a 2-month-old son at the time, a son he won’t get to see grow up.

“He was my baby… He was smart, he was very, very intelligent,” Amari’s mother, Anitra Wise, said as she held back tears.

Amari’s son, now 2 years old. Photo courtesy: Anitra Wise

“He loved everybody, he helped everybody. You could walk through this town and ask about Amari Wise, and there was nothing but good stuff,” Amari’s aunt Jamie Wise said.

Connor Henry was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter.

Anitra feels the facts of the case don’t line up with manslaughter, and she doesn’t understand why he was convicted of the lesser charge.

“I’ll never have real justice ’cause my son is gone,” Anitra said. But she does feel a murder charge is more just than manslaughter.

Amari’s body was found near a creek in New Castle — 10 days after he was reported missing.

Amari Wise. Photo courtesy: Anitra Wise

Connor’s father, Todd Henry, was also arrested in the case, charged with criminal conspiracy to commit homicide after the fact, obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence.

In a criminal complaint, police said Connor shot Amari on June 5, 2020, then hid the gun. He was later arrested in Ocean City, Maryland.

According to New Castle News, during the trial, Connor admitted to the court that “he shot and killed Amari Wise that night during a gathering of friends in his family’s garage, intending to kill him.”

“He got down proudly and showed the whole courtroom how he blew the back of his head, how he stood and all that. That’s like torture to us,” Jamie said.

Connor and Todd Henry
L to R: Connor and Todd Henry

Connor claimed he shot Amari in self defense, to protect his friend, after Amari threatened him. But his mother and aunt said a self-defense claim doesn’t line up with the facts.

“I just knew that after hiding him and cleaning the area that it would be murder. It sounds like murder to me… They moved the body and everything,” Anitra said.

There’s also the question of whether or not Amari was armed.

One witness testified in court that Amari pulled a gun out of his fanny pack, then after he was shot the gun fell out of his fanny pack onto the ground. District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa asked him later how it could have fallen from Amari’s fanny pack if he already had taken it out during the threat. He also argued that Amari’s fanny pack was zipped up when they recovered it from his body.

Another witness testified that they never saw Amari pull a gun during the argument. Anitra says she believes her son was not armed.

According to New Castle News, a 9-millimeter gun was found inside Amari’s car, which Connor testified he dumped with the gun inside. The gun was found to not be registered to Amari.

Connor did not have a jury trial, but instead a single judge determined his fate — not guilty of murder, guilty of voluntary manslaughter and guilty of possession of firearms.

Anitra believes if a jury would have heard the case, the outcome would be different.

“If my son would have killed him, he would have got life in jail,” Anitra said.

Connor is scheduled to be sentenced on October 25. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Todd is scheduled for trial on September 6.

An attempt was made to reach Connor’s attorney, but as of Monday evening, we have not heard back.