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Feb. 15, 2008 | Murder suspect fights extradition

A drifter accused of killing an aspiring attorney visiting family in South Florida is scheduled to go before a New York judge Friday to fight his extradition to Miami-Dade.

Kendrick Williams, 32, was arrested Jan. 15 in Brooklyn and charged with the second-degree murder of Stepha Henry, a Trinidad and Tobago native who disappeared last Memorial Day weekend after going to a club in Sunrise with Williams.

Her disappearance drew national attention. Friends and relatives contended that 22-year-old Henry, a 2006 honors graduate from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, was not a runaway but a crime victim.

Miami-Dade Assistant State Attorney Abbe Rifkin said she was confident Williams would eventually be brought here to face charges.

Defense attorney, Lawrence Siry, could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Henry came to South Florida with her sister, Shola, then 16, for the weekend and to celebrate Shola's birthday. They stayed with an aunt in Miami Gardens.

At a barbecue on May 28, Henry chatted with Williams, described by relatives and police as an acquaintance but not a boyfriend. They made plans to go to the Sunrise nightclub Peppers Café later that night.

At 1 a.m. on May 29, Williams picked up Henry in an Acura Integra. Investigators said he bought the car in New York and drove it to Florida. The pair left Henry's aunt's house for the nightclub.

Henry and Williams were seen together in a video recorded inside the club, police said. Williams, whom police had interviewed after Henry's disappearance, told investigators he left the club at some point and that Henry decided to stay.

Investigators released few details in the case for months. As the case grew colder, Henry's friends and family were critical of the media for letting her disappearance slip from the spotlight.

Last September, the same month Henry would have turned 23, police found the Acura Integra in South Florida. Inside, forensic tests revealed a large amount of Henry's blood. Police said the volume of evidence pointed to a homicide.

Williams was arrested early on the morning of Jan. 15 when members of the New York Police Department fugitive division and Miami-Dade detectives knocked on the window of a Nissan Maxima he was sleeping in at a Brooklyn, N.Y., pier.

Police have not found Henry's body and are not sure she was killed, but Miami-Dade police took the lead on the investigation because it originated as a missing-persons case in Miami Gardens.

Prosecutors have said they will be able to litigate the case without finding her.

Williams, a native of the Virgin Islands, had fled to New York after Henry's death, police said.

Henry's mother Sylvia, has said she won't believe her daughter is dead until the body turns up.

Miami Herald staff writer Susannah A. Nesmith contributed to this report.