FLORENCE — A woman who told authorities she was trying to protect herself from her former employee when he was killed has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly said the Lauderdale County grand jury decided the actions of Trisha Henry, 41, of Florence, were “justified” in the death of John Kalama, her former boss. Henry used to work for Kalama at his landscaping business.

Kalama was shot and killed after he broke into Henry’s house the morning of Dec. 10, 2017. Once inside the house, he started a fire and then tried to attack Henry, according to reports.

Connolly said Florence police conducted an investigation into the incident, and the evidence was presented to April session of the grand jury.

“(Henry) cooperated with the investigation and testified at the grand jury hearing,” Connolly said. “After hearing the case and all of the evidence, the grand jury found her actions were justified and they 'no billed' the case.”

Police said Henry and her three children were asleep inside their house on Whisperwood Trail when the incident happened.

Reports indicate Henry awakened and saw Kalama pouring gas all over the house and then set it on fire.

According to detectives, Henry screamed at Kalama to stop, and when he did not, she got her three children outside the house.

Police said at some point, Kalama attempted to assault Henry and “she retreated to her bedroom.” Authorities said when Kalama followed her into the bedroom, she picked up a gun and shot him when he came at her.

The fire was reported to Lauderdale 911 at 6:45 p.m. on Dec. 10, 2017.

Florence fire officials said the house was fully involved in flames when firefighters arrived.

Police Sgt. Greg Cobb said Kalama’s body was found after the fire was extinguished. He said it appeared Kalama entered possibly through a garage door. The front door was locked.

The blaze gutted the brick home, which is in the Briarcliff Subdivision off Jackson Road.

tom.smith@timesdaily.com or 256-740-5757. Twitter @TD_TomSmith.


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