After Schlitterbahn co-owner bonds out of jail, his attorney calls charges ridiculous

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Schlitterbahn co-owner Jeff Henry bonded out of the Wyandotte County jail Wednesday.

Jeff Henry's mug shot from Wyandotte County

His attorney, Carl Cornwell, addressed media immediately after Henry posted bond. You can see his address in the video player below.

"I have read the indictment, and I’ve done this, folks for 41 years, and this indictment which suggests that my client did this under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life is ridiculous," Cornwell said.

Cornwell added that Henry would like to speak publicly about his charges, but he needed to get cleaned up first.

"What he wants to say, and what I want to say first is this is not about him," Cornwell said. "This is about that little boy and the two other people who were injured. And, the other folks who have had their names put in this indictment."

Henry arrived at the Wyandotte County Jail around 1:45 a.m., Wednesday in a silver pickup truck. FOX4 was there and captured video of his arrival. See it in the video player below.

Henry was extradited from Texas to face charges of second-degree murder for the 2016 death of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab on the 17-story water slide Verruckt. He also faces numerous other charges.

"What they’re trying to do with my client is say that he just didn’t give a damn—that’s really what this is about," Cornwell said. "That he didn’t give a damn about anybody sliding down that water slide. That’s the furthest thing from the truth—absolutely the furthest thing from the truth.  He has compassion. He is concerned."

The indictment against Henry shows from August 2014 until Caleb's death in August 2016, more than a dozen people reported injuries from the ride including concussions, whiplash and herniated spinal disk injuries.

The indictment also says emails from Henry shows he had a desire to rush the timeline and in the process skipped fundamental steps in the design process of the ride.

Caleb Thomas Schwab

If convicted of murder, Henry could spend between nine to more than 40 years in prison.

He is scheduled to make his first court appearance in Kansas on Thursday.

"We look forward to trying this case," Cornwell said. "We’re going to be there tomorrow at 2 o’clock which starts the speedy trial, and we’re going to aggressively fight this."

Cornwell said he expects prosecutors will argue that Henry is a flight risk because he lives near the Mexico border and therefore should wear a GPS tracking device when he returns to Texas. Cornwell said they will fight the call for a tracker.

"There’s no reason for it," Cornwell said. "We just made the bond. The bond is $500,000. His family has stepped forward, and there’s no way, reason, anything to suggest my client is a danger to society or a flight risk, which is what bonds are designed to do."

John Schooley

The ride's co-designer, John Schooley, who has also been charged in connection to Caleb's death, was taken into federal custody Monday when returned to the United States on a flight from China.

Schooley was reportedly out of the country on business but was aware that he had been charged and was wanted, a U.S. Marshals spokesperson previously told FOX4.

When the tragic incident happened, Caleb was riding the slide with two adult women, with whom he was matched on the raft. The women are from north of Hays, Kansas. One suffered a broken jaw, and the other a broken bone in her face and had to have stitches in her eye. The two women have since agreed to out-of-court financial settlements in this case.

"I drive by there all the time, and you see that slide and you just think about the terror that family and obviously that little boy and the other two people went through," Cornwell said.

Cornwell's full statement:

My client just made bond. He wants to talk to everybody, and I’m going to try to get that arraigned today. I don’t know if I’ll be successful, but I’m going to try to get it arraigned today. He has a statement he’d like to say.

I’m going to go meet him in a little bit and let him get cleaned up, let him eat, let him get some sleep. He had a long, long trip yesterday. We have a hearing tomorrow at 2 o’clock in front of Judge Burns. Judge Burns is going to decide whether or not my client has to have a GPS put on his ankle—global positioning. We’re going to argue against it. There’s no reason for it. We just made the bond. The bond is $500,000. His family has stepped forward, and there’s no way, reason, anything to suggest my client is a danger to society or a flight risk, which is what bonds are designed to do.

I have read the indictment, and I’ve done this, folks, for 41 years, and this indictment which suggests that my client did this under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life is ridiculous.

What he wants to say, and what I want to say first is this is not about him. This is about that little boy and the two other people who were injured. And, the other folks who have had their names put in this indictment.

What happened? There’s a civil suit. The civil suit is done. Liability was found, or liability wasn’t found. People decided that’s what they needed to do and just filed--they filed it and paid the money.

What they’re trying to do with my client is say that he just didn’t give a damn—that’s really what this is about. That he didn’t give a damn about anybody sliding down that water slide. That’s the furthest thing from the truth—absolutely the furthest thing from the truth.  He has compassion. He is concerned, and he said this is not about me the first time I met him today. This is not about me, this is about that little boy, and we’re going to find out what happened.

So, we look forward to trying this case. We’re going to be there tomorrow at 2 o’clock which starts the speedy trial, and we’re going to aggressively fight this.

This is a case where they’re going to try to put my client into the penitentiary for 117 months—10 years. This is just ridiculous.

When asked why he thought the charges were brought against Henry:

I have no idea. I could probably venture to guess, but I’d probably swear so I probably better not.

It makes no sense to me that it’s a criminal case. It’s just not.

I drive by there all the time, and you see that slide and you just think about the terror that family and obviously that little boy and the other two people went through.

We’re going to get to the bottom of this, and we’re going to figure out what happened.

The justice system is going to grind away, but it’s going to grind real fine. And, we’re going to get to the bottom of this and get the true word out, which doesn’t come in in a grand jury. It’s just one side.

When asked if it makes a difference whether Caleb was the son of a law maker:

Not a bit. I don’t think he had anything to do with this. I don’t think it was political. I have some information as to why it was filed, but I’m not privy. to say that right now. It had nothing to do with politics.