The family of Verne Jenkins, who was shot to death last year at the Sapp Brothers Truck Stop where he worked as a security guard, wept uncontrollably Monday at the sentencing for the man who killed Jenkins.
A jury found Roger Allen Malcolm guilty of first-degree felony murder in June for the Dec. 26, 2007, slaying of Jenkins, who was shot in the neck while the two struggled at the truck stop after Jenkins had ordered Malcolm out of the building at 1953 W. California Ave.
Third District Judge Paul Maughan sentenced Malcolm to 15-years-to-life in prison on Monday.
"When you killed him, you killed me, too," Nora Jenkins, the victim's mother, tearfully told Malcolm in court during the victim impact portion of the hearing.
She said the death of her only son has broken the hearts of her family, including husband Vernell and daughter Olympia. They now weep, fight among themselves and suffer sleepless nights, overcome with grief.
"We live like zombies in a house because we don't know what to say," Nora Jenkins said. "We don't understand."
She said her husband has had to take on two jobs because she has lost several positions due to her inability to concentrate.
Verne Jenkins also left behind a wife and 3-year-old son who will not see him again, she told the court.
Olympia Jenkins, the victim's sister, was passionate in her grief, lashing out angrily at Malcolm. "I am mad at you, I hate you, I will never forgive you never!" she exclaimed.
Stephanie Jenkins, the widow of the victim, cried as she told the judge she wanted to let people hear the positive things about her husband rather than having him simply characterized as "the security guard who got shot."
"He was patient, kind and giving," she said. "He was thoughtful, loving and affectionate."
Stephanie Jenkins expressed puzzlement at Malcolm's court demeanor, stating that she has seen no remorse and heard no apology. "All I see is a man who seems to feel justified in what he has done."
Malcolm at first had no comment but later offered a somewhat rambling series of remarks. "To the family, I can assure you this was a tragedy," he said.
Malcolm said he was carrying a gun because of previous incidents in the neighborhood, but as far as the shooting of Jenkins, "It was nothing personal. Things got out of hand."
Maughan denied a defense motion to sentence Malcolm to a second-degree felony charge, noting that the jury has spoken on the first-degree murder charge.
The judge also urged the Jenkins family to "do Verne honor" by trying to direct their emotions toward healing, for their own benefit and also for Verne Jenkins' little boy.
Prosecution witnesses testified that Jenkins told Malcolm to leave the building after Malcolm began yelling at cashiers because he apparently thought they were not waiting on him fast enough when he wanted to buy a pack of gum before riding his bike to work. A fight erupted between the two men and Malcolm shot Jenkins.
Malcolm's defense attorney, Rudy Batista, however, argued that Malcolm fired only because he thought his own life was in danger because he thought Jenkins was going for a gun of his own.Police discovered later than Jenkins was unarmed.
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