Schlitterbahn co-owner Jeff Henry is back home in New Braunfels after pleading Not Guilty on Thursday to several felony counts, including murder, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports
Henry, 62, and another Schlitterbahn water ride designer, are charged with murder in connection with the death of a 10 year old boy who was decapitated on the Verruckt water slide at the Schlitterbahn park outside Kansas City in the summer of 2016.
Prosecutors claim that Henry, despite having no training and no expertise in water ride design, ordered the Verruckt to be rushed into service, in part, to please the producer of a TV reality show called 'Xtreme Waterparks.'
The indictment in Wyandotte County Kansas, also claims that Henry worked to cover up previous accidents on Verruckt, and once even claimed openly that Verruckt was dangerous.
"Henry openly admitted that one of his principal motivations in building Verruckt was to flaunt his achievements in the faces of other waterpark owners. 'Hey guys, come on. Are you gonna let me have the bragging rights? Because I'm gonna brag a lot! We are the tallest ride in the world!'" the indictment claims Henry said to the owner of a rival waterpark.
Henry’s lawyer, Carl Cornwell, told News Radio 1200 WOAI that the charges are ridiculous.
"This indictment that suggests that my client did this under circumstance manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life is ridiculous," Cornwell said. "What they are trying to do with my client is say that he just didn't give a damn about anybody sliding down that water slide, and that is the furthest thing from the truth."
Henry was ordered released on bond. He had to give up his passport, but the Kansas judge rejected a request from the prosecution that Henry be required to wear an ankle monitor.
His trial is tentatively set for September.