Sisters Court Murder Suspect a 15-Year Repeat Offender - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/04/05

Sisters Court Murder Suspect a 15-Year Repeat Offender

Robert Jenkins Robert Jenkins

A suspect in the murder at Sisters Court apartments remains in jail this afternoon. Police say Robert Jenkins, 50, killed 68-year-old William Valentine in Valentine's own apartment. Valentine was found stabbed to death two weeks ago.

We looked into Jenkins' background and found out his criminal resume is quite full. His rap sheet shows he has been in and out of jail since 1989, with more than two dozens violations to show for it.

His most recent jail stint ended three weeks ago, but he's locked up again, this time charged with his most serious crime yet.

"It's a tragedy," said Keith Vermillion, who is familiar with Jenkins. As director of Savannah Impact, he works with repeat offenders trying help them stay out of trouble.

"As time went on, we noticed he's trying to hang out with the wrong individuals he shouldn't be," Vermillion said. "We worked with him the best we could."

"Not everyone that goes into Savannah Impact or any other institution is going to abide by the rules all the time," noted Asst. Chief Willie Lovett of the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department.

Just look at Jenkins' rap sheet. It ranges from a 1989 charge for criminal attempt to battery charges, to a dozen parole violations, to aggravated assault, and now the most serious charge of murder.

So do repeat offenders deserve yet another chance? Savannah Impact says the numbers speak for themselves. Out of the 700 ex-convicts they worked with last year, only 15 percent went back to jail.

Donald Smith spent three years in jail for trafficking cocaine. He says once he got out, all he needed was another chance. "I feel like I changed," he said. "I'm working, I got married this year and I'm feeling good about myself."

But Vermillion says Jenkins wasted his chances. More than 30 times.

If Jenkins is found guilty of murdering William Valentine, he could face life behind bars.

Reported by: Hena Daniels, hdaniels@wtoc.com

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