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Man enters guilty plea in Buellton grocery store kidnapping case

Sentencing is set for March 5
Posted at 2:13 PM, Feb 20, 2020

The man arrested and later charged after authorities say he tried to kidnap a little girl from a grocery store in Buellton last year is expected to be sentenced to jail time and probation after entering a new plea.

William "Bill" Henderson pleaded guilty on Feb. 6 to false imprisonment by violence, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office.

Under the plea, the other charges against Henderson, which included misdemeanor cruelty to a child, are expected to be dismissed at sentencing.

Henderson has been out on bail since shortly after his August 13, 2019 arrest.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office said Henderson days earlier took a 2-year-old from a shopping cart at Albertsons on the 200 block of Highway 246 and "started walking toward the exit."

The child's parent stopped Henderson before he left the store and handed over the child, authorities said, adding, "The 2-year-old child and parent were clearly distraught over the incident."

Shortly after his arrest, the sheriff's office said several people had called to describe bizarre behavior involving Henderson, but the reports at that time had not risen to the level of criminal behavior, officials said.

The DA's Office tells KSBY News Henderson is expected to be sentenced to five years of felony probation and a year in county jail.

Some of his probation terms include not having any alcohol, having no contact with all victims, staying away from the area near Albertsons in Buellton, a $600 restitution fee and enrolling and completing a six-month outpatient alcohol treatment program.

The DA's Office adds that after serving 270 days behind bars, they are not objecting to Henderson being transported directly to a residential treatment program.

Sentencing is set for March 5.