CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – Both sides rested their case just before noon today for Jerome Jenkins trial. He’s one of the men charged in connection with the 2015 Sunhouse convenience store robberies and murders.
Jenkins is on trial right now for the armed robbery and murder of Bala Paruchuri, as well as the attempted murder of Jimmy Mczeke.
Around 2 o’clock this afternoon the state and defense delivered very brief closing arguments.
“He was in it from the beginning," said Solicitor Scott Hixson, "Mckinley Daniels is not behind him telling him what to do. He is the equal partner. All in.”
“We’re not denying that he is not denying his guilt," said defense attorney Brana Williams, "And as you heard in jury voir dire, when we get to part two, you will hear the rest of the story.”
In his closing argument, Hixson said James Daniels, one of the other men charged in connection with the Sunhouse robbery and murder on January 2, 2015, walked into the store to assess the situation before Jerome Jenkins and Mckinley Daniels went inside.
JJ does not deny his guilt. You heard Mr. Wilson say that in the opening arguments," said Williams, “JJ is not saying he’s not guilty.”
The jury went into the deliberation room at 2:30 Saturday afternoon.
Earlier Saturday morning, the jury heard testimony from the lead detective with the Horry County Police Department on the case. Detective Gregory Lent took the stand to talk about when he took Jerome Jenkins in for questioning.
In one of the recordings you can hear Lent read Jenkins his rights. Later on, the two are heard talking about the armed robbery that happened at the Sunhouse convenience store the night Bala Paruchuri was killed. The audio was difficult for our crews to hear in the back of the courtroom, but the jury was provided a transcript to follow along.
“Do you remember what happened with the.. Something got taken from the store, right?” Det. Lent is heard asking Jenkins in the recording.
Lent said, at first, Jenkins wasn’t willing to talk with him. It wasn’t until Lent said he received an email from a corrections officer who told him Jenkins was interested in speaking with Lent.
When the defense cross-examined Lent, he said Jenkins was willing to talk to him after their first few conversations.
Jenkins is charged with the murder of Bala Paruchuri, attempted murder of Jimmy Mczeke, and the armed robbery of the Sunhouse convenience store on January 2, 2015. He’s also charged in the robbery of the Scotchman conveniece store on Lake Arrowhead and the armed robbery and murder of Trisha Stull on January 25, 2015, but those charges are still pending.