State Rep. Cody Henson, R-Transylvania, (center) exits the Transylvania County courthouse in Brevard after an appearance on a cyberstalking charge March 28, 2019, as WLOS reporter Justin Hinton (left) and camera operator Todd Robbins attempt to interview him. Frank Taylor / Carolina Public Press

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Rep. Cody Henson, R-Transylvania, abstained from a House vote on a bill on domestic violence protection orders in Raleigh on Wednesday afternoon.

His nonvote came a day after he received a continuance in a criminal cyberstalking case against him. “They needed him in Raleigh,” Henson’s attorney, J. Michael Edney, told Carolina Public Press outside the Transylvania County courthouse in Brevard on Tuesday.

The state House of Representatives unanimously passed Senate Bill 493, which modifies existing law about domestic violence protection orders.

It is a topic Henson is personally familiar with, as a judge awarded his wife, Kelsey Henson, a yearlong domestic violence protection order against him in February.

Henson now faces the cyberstalking charge related to his alleged conduct in that matter, according to Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office and court records.

Henson voted on other bills throughout the day Wednesday, according to legislative records. He did not respond to an emailed question from CPP regarding his abstention.

If SB 493 becomes law, abusers who are required to attend treatment will have to start within 60 days. It also specifies that domestic violence protection orders expire at 11:59 p.m. on the expiration date.

The bill was championed by Sen. Danny Britt Jr., a Republican representing Columbus and Robeson counties.

After Henson’s domestic violence protection order was in place, the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office issued Henson a criminal court summons for cyberstalking. Henson has said he will not defend his seat in the upcoming election.

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Earlier this year, a judge ordered Henson to give up his guns as Henson faced the misdemeanor cyberstalking charge.

On Tuesday, attorney Edney secured a third postponement in the cyberstalking matter for his client.

Asked by CPP on Tuesday about other cases involving public officials in which repeated continuances have sometimes been a prelude to the charges being dropped, Edney responded, “This one is going to go away sooner or later.”

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Kate Martin

Kate Martin is lead investigative reporter for Carolina Public Press. Email her at kmartin@carolinapublicpress.org.

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