Cambria man charged with murdering his brother

September 29, 2012

Brandon Noble Henslee

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff deputies filed charges on Friday against a mentally ill Cambria man suspected of killing his 20-year-old brother on Aug. 23.

On Aug. 26, after discovering Tyler Daniel Hanks’s body at the northern edge of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve, deputies arrested Brandon Henslee, 22, for two parole violations while they began investigating him for the murder.

More than a year ago, Henslee tried to get help for his mental illness by checking himself into county mental health. Shortly after he arrived, a worker at the facility found a comment Henslee made about a bruise on her face to be a threat. He was charged with making a threat and sent to prison under a parole violation before the charges were dropped.

Henslee’s family and friends said he came back to Cambria about six months ago in an even worse mental state. During his time at home, Henslee would talk to himself and run empty appliances such as the washer and dryer for hours, his mother Sherri Grayson said.

Brandon Henslee, Sheri Grayson and Tyler Hanks about 19 years ago.

Grayson said she asked a parole psychologist why her son insisted on constantly running noisy appliances and was told it was likely an attempt to drown out the noise in Henslee’s head.

On Aug. 22, Grayson had gone to bed early after taking pain killers prescribed to her for a back injury. She left her two sons in the den and her husband Mike Coffin and a family friend Steve “Chewy” Smith in the garage.

At about 4 a.m. the next morning, Grayson heard a bumping along the side of the house and asked what was going on. Henslee was pulling one of the trash cans from the front yard to the back yard near a door to the den where the brothers had been watching television.

“Brandon (Henslee) said it was nothing and that I should go back to sleep,” Grayson said.

In the morning, Henslee, sporting wet hair from an early morning shower, was in the den mopping the floor. A cushion from the loveseat, in the spot where Tyler usually sat, was missing. Police later discovered blood spatters on the loveseat and removed it as evidence.

On the morning of Aug. 25, Henslee rolled the trash can from the back to the front yard and then down the street. After his mother told him to bring it back, Henslee returned with the trash can and sprayed it out spilling blood onto the ground. A family friend then called to report Hanks was missing.

Brandon claims he did not kill his brother.


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I’ll see him at ASH before the snow flies.