Corrections officers detail interactions with Jerome Jenkins during sentencing phase

Jerome Jenkins Sentencing Day 2

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The same jury that convicted a man in the 2015 Sunhouse convenience store murders and robberies is hearing new testimony to decide an appropriate punishment.

Jerome Jenkins faces either life in prison without parole, or the death penalty.

The prosecution called correctional officers to the stand on Tuesday to describe their interactions with Jenkins during his time behind bars at Lee Correctional Institution. The jury listened as five officers outlined interactions with Jenkins from 2016 through 2019, some recalling death threats.

“Mr. Jenkins told me, ‘If you don’t ship me, I’m going to kill one of your officers,’” said Thomas Commander, a correctional officer for the South Carolina Department of Corrections.

“He stated that he was going to kill me, called me by my first name. My first and last name," said Lt. Damien Green, another correctional officer at the South Carolina Departmet of Corrections.

Others detailed violent incidents involving Jenkins.

“I saw him grab something, then he stuck his arm back through the food flap and started swinging in my direction. And he struck me in my right forearm," said correctional officer Jason Fields.

The jury also heard testimony of separate occasions where Jenkins threw bodily fluids at officers from his cell.

“He threw, he had a squeeze bottle, and then he squeezed feces in my facial area," said correctional officer Vanessa Fox.

The defense also called witnesses to the stand.

First was Atina Jenkins, Jerome Jenkins’ mother.

She told the jury about his problems at school starting at a young age and how Jenkins’ father was in prison from the time he was born through most of his upbringing.

“I preached, and I’m like, ‘JJ I don’t want you to be like your daddy,’" said Jenkins.

His mother also described how Jenkins, one of eight siblings, often felt like an outsider.

“He always said he was the black sheep of the family because of his last name. He always said, ‘How are you going to have three Ray’s and then skip me and then go to Ra Ra, his name’s Raheem, and then give him a Ray,’" she said.

She told the jury despite his troubled childhood, and run-ins with the law, Jenkins was a good kid.

During the trial on Tuesday, the judge reminded Jenkins of his right to testify or, should he choose, his right to make a statement at the conclusion of the case without cross examination.

Jenkins said he will not take the stand.

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