Pike County Sheriff’s Deputy Joel Jenkins Pleads Guilty to Reckless Homicide

WAVERLY, Ohio – Former Pike County sheriff’s deputy Joel Jenkins will never be a peace officer again or be able to legally own a gun after pleading guilty in the 2015 shooting death of his neighbor.

Jenkins appeared calm Monday as he pleaded guilty to reckless homicide, a third-degree felony, as part of a plea deal that lowered a mandatory prison sentence for a gun specification from three years to one year. Charges of involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence were also dismissed as part of the agreement.

“Joel has always made it clear to us he wanted to take responsibility … It was a stupid tragic mistake,” his attorney Mark Collins said.

A week-long trial had been slated to begin Monday, but the two sides were able to reach an agreement just before 10 a.m. Jenkins will be sentenced in a month or two after the court receives a pre-sentencing investigation report.

Jenkins will be sentenced to at least one year in prison on the gun specification and faces between nine months and three years on the reckless homicide charge.

Few details of the case were discussed on record, but Joel King, a special prosecutor from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, told Pike County Common Pleas Judge Randy Deering Jenkins had been drinking beer and liquor prior to trying to teach 40-year-old Jason Brady how to disarm someone while not ensuring the gun used wasn’t loaded on Dec. 3, 2015. The gun went off and struck Brady in the head, killing him.

According to Collins, Jenkins and Brady, his neighbor, had been longtime friends. He said the two had gone to eat earlier in the day where Jenkins had two beers and then that evening had four shots of liquor. When Jenkins’ blood alcohol content was tested seven hours later, Collins said it showed he wasn’t impaired and he had an expert who would have testified Jenkins wasn’t impaired.

The two had been at Jenkins’ East Seventh Street home in Waverly when Jenkins showed Brady the gun which belonged to Pike County Prosecutor Rob Junk. Junk previously told the Gazette Jenkins was interested in possibly buying the gun and he’d loaned it to him.

According to Collins, Brady had asked Jenkins to show him how to disarm someone who has a gun. He allegedly checked the gun for ammunition and cleared it before Brady took the gun in his right hand and Jenkins disarmed him twice, Collins said.

Jenkins laid down the gun. A short time later, Collins said Brady asked Jenkins to show him how to disarm someone who had the gun in their left hand.

“He wasn’t sure before doing it left handed it was clear … He assumed it still was and it wasn’t,” Collins said.

Although Collins continues to contend Jenkins’ actions were negligent rather than reckless which would have lowered the charge to a misdemeanor, he said prosecutors made a “fair offer” and they opted to accept it.

At the time of Brady’s death, Jenkins had been under investigation in relation to the on-duty fatal shooting of 26-year-old Robert Rooker at the end of a lengthy night-time pursuit in March 2015.

“He (Brady) was his best friend and rock while Joel was waiting on suspension in the other case,” Collins said.

Jenkins was indicted by a grand jury on charges of murder and reckless homicide at the same time he was indicted for Brady’s death. A jury found him not guilty in January in the Rooker case but a federal wrongful death suit remains pending. A wrongful death suit related to Brady’s death remains pending in Pike County Common Pleas Court.

Source: http://www.chillicothegazette.com/story/news/2017/10/16/former-pike-county-sheriffs-deputy-joel-jenkins-pleads-guilty-reckless-homicide/768034001/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter