Murder trial centers on finding real Carlos Jenkins

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 28, 2005

A simple-minded innocent or a drug-seeking killer?

Seven men and five Lawrence County women on the jury will have to decide this week which Carlos Jenkins is the real one.

The Lawrence County Common Pleas Court jury was seated Monday morning in the trial of the Ironton man accused of killing John Turvey at Turvey's Lane Ridge residence Sept. 3, 2004.

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In his opening argument, Lawrence County Prosecutor J.B. Collier Jr. said Jenkins was not hunting on Lane Ridge that day in September last year, as Jenkins has contended, but the defendant went to Turvey's home in search of drugs the victim kept because he was terminally ill with cancer.

But something went wrong, Turvey was killed and Jenkins changed the story he gave to law enforcement in an effort to cover his tracks.

"The defendant was not hunting for squirrel, he was hunting for drugs, specifically oxycontin and marijuana, "Collier said. …"And he went out there to get those drugs."

Collier said after changing his story several times, Jenkins finally confessed not only to Lawrence County Sheriff's deputies but to another inmate at the Lawrence County Jail.

But defense attorney David Reid Dillon said Jenkins' confession to sheriff's deputies was coerced from the mouth of a man who would say anything he thought people wanted to hear. Dillon also said the prosecution has nothing linking his client to the crime. "They have no fingerprint, no DNA, no motive and no murder weapon, nothing connecting him to the crime," Dillon said.

Collier called to the stand

John Turvey Jr., the son of the murdered victim, who

testified he saw Jenkins in the vicinity of the camper home he shared with his father the morning of the murder.

"I seen him at the end of the driveway, hunting, I guess," the young Turvey said.

Neighbor John Ferrell Sr., broke down and sobbed heavily as he told the court what he found when he went to visit the victim the morning of the murder.

"I blew the horn and he didn't stick his head out like he normally did," Ferrell said.

When he entered the Turvey residence, he said he found the victim lying face down on the floor, blood coming from underneath his baseball cap. He then summoned help.

As Ferrell testified, members of the Turvey family sat in the front row of the gallery, dabbing tears from their eyes.

Under cross examination by Dillon, Ferrell said many people came and went from the Turvey residence in the man's final months, some of them he knew, others did did not, and he classified some of them as "shady." Many of them were buying marijuana from Turvey, Ferrell said, adding that he later learned some were buying other drugs, such as oxycontin, as well.

Lawrence County Sheriff's detective Shane Hanshaw testified that Jenkins was pointed out as being in the area at the time of the killing, somewhere between 7:41 and 9 a.m.

Hanshaw also testified that at first, Jenkins denied knowing Turvey and said he had heard only one gun shot the morning he was allegedly hunting. Hanshaw said several shots had been fired, in fact, at Turvey's residence and that Turvey had been shot six times.

Jenkins later admitted he did know Turvey, and after hours of questioning, told authorities he went to Turvey's trailer to ask if he could hunt on his property, but that Turvey "wigged out" and pulled a gun on Jenkins. The two struggled and Turvey was shot.

Hanshaw testified that during his questioning, Jenkins was able to provide information about the murder that neither he nor other detectives had mentioned to him, such as what kind of weapon was used to kill Turvey, that a tackle box that Turvey kept drugs and valuables in was missing from the residence.

Hanshaw said the longer detectives talked with Jenkins, the more his story changed. "I told him that I didn't think he was being totally honest," Hanshaw recalled. "At first he didn't really say why he was giving different answers, but later admitted he was telling a different story."

Hanshaw testified that another inmate, Chris Jones, in jail with Jenkins, later told detectives Jenkins had not only admitted to the killing, but had divulged information he could only have gotten if he had been the killer.

During cross examination, Dillon asked Hanshaw if he was aware that Ferrell's wife also only heard one gun shot, even though she lived in the vicinity of the murder scene, and asked if the murder weapon had even been found. Hanshaw said it had not been.

Dillon asked why only 18 minutes of Jenkins' discussion at the sheriff's office had been taped when in fact Jenkins had been at the office for more than five hours the day after the murder, answering questions.

Under cross examination, Hanshaw admitted Jenkins had not been tested for presence of gun powder residue on his hands because he was not questioned until the day after the murder.

The trial will continue Tuesday, and Collier indicated after Monday's session he may rest his case sometime Tuesday.