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Jury convicts Fort Dodge man of murdering pastor in 2019

Joshua Pendleton was found guilty Tuesday for the murder and robbery of Pastor Allen Henderson in October 2019.

FORT DODGE, Iowa — After delays in his trial, a jury found Joshua Pendleton guilty Tuesday of murdering Fort Dodge Pastor Al Henderson in October 2019. 

According to court documents, the jury of 12 in Scott County convicted Pendleton of first-degree murder and first-degree robbery. 

Pendleton's sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 18, 2021 at the Webster County Courthouse. 

Pendleton will remain in custody until then. 

With the guilty verdict, the judge ordered a presentence investigation, meaning the court ordered the Iowa Department of Corrections to look into all aspects to be considered before sentencing.

Pendleton faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

On Oct. 2, 2019, medics and officers responded to a call of an unresponsive man outside the St. Paul Lutheran Church in Fort Dodge. They found Henderson and began life-saving treatment. 

Henderson was transported to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead, appearing to have suffered from bodily injuries consistent with an assault.

Watch: Service for fallen Pastor Henderson in Fort Dodge

Law enforcement brought Pendleton into custody that night and charged him with first-degree murder and first-degree robbery. 

In Jan. 2020, a Webster County judge ordered a mental health evaluation for Pendleton, whose attorney argued that he was acting in an irrational manner and was unable to fully appreciate the nature of the charges. 

A few days later, court proceedings were suspended due to the evaluation. 

One month later, a judge ruled Pendleton suffered from a mental disorder which prevented him from understanding the charges against him.

Another evaluation completed later proved his competency restored, and he was declared fit to stand trial. The trial was moved to Scott County.

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