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|“||We've got a problem in our society. Nothing that we say has any value anymore...No credibility...I say I'm going to pay my bills, it doesn't matter. The lender needs a credit check to prove that I have, to prove that I will...Nobody believes anything we say anymore without proof of intention, so if I say that I am going to kill a man, then I need to prove I have killed a man... Proof of intention.||„|
|~ Henry explaining why he kidnapped Ron.|
Henry David Cole was a kidnapper and murderer and the main antagonist of the 2019 crime thriller film American Hangman. He kidnapped a 14-year-old girl named Claudine, because he saw her as pure and wanted to protect her from losing her innocence, but he felt guilty about it afterwards and hoped that the police would find him and arrest him. However, due to the incompetence of the police, a local introvert was arrested and executed for the crime. When his guilt is too much to bear, Henry kidnaps the judge who tried the Jeeter case and films a trial for the whole world to see, in which he allows the audience to vote on the verdict. In the end, both Henry and Judge Straight are found guilty and sentenced to death.
He was portrayed by Vincent Kartheiser.
Murder of Claudine Jeeter
Henry lived in a house located at 43 Glenmount Crescent, across the street from the Jeeter household. He knew the Jeeter's fourteen year old daughter, Claudine, and saw her as innocent and pure. So, on February 10th, 2012 he kidnapped her while she was walking home from school and kept her hidden in an underground bunker. The police investigated for two years and didn't find her abductor, despite having interviewed him twice. With all the public pressure, the police found very little evidence and chose a scapegoat in a lonely man named Paul William Gager. A trial was held and Gager was found guilty and sentenced to death.
Trial of Judge Straight
Six years later, the night after Gager's execution, Henry kidnaps the judge of the Jeeter case and a random man and chains them up in the basement of the local police station. He then begins live streaming, through various cameras and asks the two to introduce themselves to the viewers. After they comply, Henry hands them newspapers and tells them to read various articles. Then he cuts off the random man's middle finger with pruning shears to show he's not bluffing, sets a timer telling them they have five minutes to figure out what the connection is between them, and leaves the room.
When the timer is up and Henry comes back, Judge Straight deduces that there is no connection and that Henry kidnapped Ron simply because he spotted him from where he was picked up. Henry admits to this and reveals that his true intentions for Ron was to kill him and prove to the viewers and Judge Straight that the stream is real. He then covers Ron's head with a jacket and shoots him in the head with a revolver. After dragging Ron's body out of the room, Henry reveals his reason for kidnapping Judge Straight: Henry plans to hold a trial for him with the viewers as the judges.
As the trial goes on, Henry eventually reveals himself as Claudine's abductor and killer. A news reporter examines footage from a news report some time after the kidnapping, and finds a suspicious man hiding his face and using a legal term. They send this to the police, who find the address of a man named Henry David Cole. With the address, the police send a team to investigate the house, where they eventually find Henry's bunker. As the verdict nears, the police lieutenant notices a cabinet in the stream similar to one in the police department and realizes that the trial is being held in the closed-off basement of the police department. The viewers decide that Judge Straight is to be found guilty, just as the team heads to the basement. Henry unlocks the door and finishes the sentencing, but hands Judge Straight the gun. The police team arrives and shoots Henry, but also indirectly shoot Judge Straight. Despite the shootings being recorded, the team maintains they had no choice.
- Henry was unarmed when the police shot him, as he gave the gun to Judge Straight. This could mean the officers that shot him could be charged with unlawful use of a firearm, or even murder.