Benjamin H. Smith
At 6 foot 5 inches tall and 285 pounds, Michael J. Henry lived up to his nickname, “Big Mike.” However, all it took was a jealous woman half his size to put him in his grave.
Henry was a founding member of the Iron Wings MC, an “outlaw” motorcycle club based in Erie, Pennsylvania. The group has been linked to incidents of violence, including a 2015 shootout with local rivals the Restless Souls MC, local paper the Erie Times-News reported at the time.
Henry was no stranger to violence himself. When he was younger, Henry beat a man into a coma. As a result, he served five years in prison for aggravated assault, according to a 2012 article from the UK’s Daily Mail. But after his release, Henry worked hard to turn his life around and transform his dreams into reality.
“He wanted to start his own pallet company,” former girlfriend Nicole Spinelli, who began dating him in 2006, told “Snapped,” airing Sundays at 6/5c on Oxygen. “You take these pallets and you kind of just pick them up from businesses and you recycle them.”
In 2010, Spinelli became pregnant with Henry’s child. Their son, Jaxxon, was born in May 2011. Spinelli told producers Henry “longed to be a full time father …That was really important to him.”
Sadly, the idyllic days of new parenthood wouldn’t last. “He succumbed to the pressure of the club,” said Spinelli. “They were going out every night, you know, and they wouldn’t come home. It was just a bad time when it should have been a good time.”
Henry and Spinelli split up in 2012, and he moved into an apartment above the club house of the Leader of Men RC, who describe themselves on their Facebook page as “a motorcycle riding club, not an MC.”
But on April 12, 2012, members heard gunshots coming from Henry’s apartment around 10 p.m. Leader of Men club member Petey Miller called Henry to see if everything was all right. After he didn’t pick up, Miller alerted members of the Iron Wings MC.
“He said, ‘If Mike was up there doing something himself, I didn’t want him to get pissed off at me. I’m not going to get involved. I’m going to let his motorcycle club look into it,'” Erie Police Department Detective Julie Kemling explained to “Snapped.”
Several members of the Iron Wings MC showed up at Henry’s apartment and banged on the front door, but there was no answer. Around back, another entrance was blocked off with an industrial ratchet. Club members kicked the back door in and rushed up the stairs. They found Henry’s dead body slumped over a futon, a pool of blood on the floor.
“Mike Henry was shot four times. He was shot once in the leg, twice in the chest, and once in the head,” Erie Police Department Detective Ken Kensill told producers.
First responders heard 10-month old Jaxxon crying from a room inside the apartment. He had been staying with his father while his mother was out of town and had just woken up from his nap. He was unharmed.
His apartment showed no signs of forced entry nor was anything missing. Investigators believed the killer had keys to the home.
The day after Henry’s murder, Kozloff met with detectives. She was supposedly unaware of his death at the time.
Kozloff said she and Henry had been dating since Valentine’s Day and had a good relationship. She went to Henry’s for dinner at 6:30 the previous night. She said that she “smelled sex” on Henry, according to a 2012 CBS News report. Suspicious, she started grilling him.
“So I asked him. He always tells me he doesn’t jerk off. So … apparently he did today,” Kozloff told detectives in her video interview, which was obtained by “Snapped.”
Kozloff said she left soon after dinner. Later that night, Henry started fighting with her via text message.
“Out of nowhere I get a text that pretty much says, ‘F—k off,'” Kozloff told detectives. “Sick of your s—t,” read another message.
Detective asked Kozloff if she owned a gun. Kozloff confirmed she did have one but claimed it went missing a few weeks back, saying the last place she saw the gun was in the center console of Henry’s truck.
At this point in the interview, detectives decided to tell Kozloff that Henry was deceased. Kozloff immediately put her head in her hands and began sobbing, insisting she didn’t know what had happened. She gave investigators her phone, clothing, and car for analysis.
In reviewing Kozloff’s text messages with Henry, detectives learned they had a contentious relationship. “They fought nearly every day,” Kemling said.
They also learned her gun story didn’t add up.
“April 10th, just two days before the murder, we have a text conversation between her and Mike, asking her if he wanted her to bring her gun over to the apartment. So this dispels her initial story that she lost her gun,” Kemling told producers.
Investigators reviewed surveillance footage from near Henry’s apartment, which revealed Kozloff parked a block away, not behind his building as she initially claimed. Investigators surmised that was so he wouldn’t see that she had arrived and could maintain the element of surprise.
When confronted with the inconsistencies in her statements, Kozloff tried to stick to her story. “I know what I did and didn’t do…I told the truth!” she says in the videotaped interview, obtained by “Snapped.”
But Erie Police arrested Rachel Kozloff for the murder of Michael Henry on April 16, 2012, WICU-TV reported at the time. While the case against her was largely circumstantial, three weeks before her trial, test results found gunshot residue on her pants.
At her trial, Kozloff finally admitted to shooting Henry but now claimed she did it in self-defense. The jury didn’t believe her and found her guilty of third-degree murder in December 2012, according to the Associated Press.
Rachel Kozloff was sentenced to 18 to 40 years in prison in January 2013. Now 40 years old, she will first be eligible for parole in 2031.