A Minnesota man, Emery Jenkins, who pleaded guilty to a manslaughter charge in the death of his baby son Joseph last month, bagged a 15-year prison sentence Wednesday, WDAZ 8 News is reporting.
The 39-year-old man from Itasca County received the maximum sentence after entering an Alford plea deal for the first-degree manslaughter death of his two-month old son in October 2014. The Alford plea deal allows a defendant to concede that there is sufficient evidence available to prosecutors to convince a judge or grand jury of the defendant’s guilt. The defendant does not need to admit the act.
Jenkins, a father with a notorious history for domestic abuse was arrested by police after his son’s lifeless body was discovered at his Deer River residence in Minnesota. Paramedics who arrived on the scene performed CPR as they battled to save the baby’s life.
Joseph was transported by air to a hospital, but died the following day. The doctor who tried to save his life said his death was caused by “blunt force trauma” consistent with beatings. The toddler had suffered broken ribs, a skull fracture, and bite marks to hands, feet, and chest.
Emery Jenkins had lied to police, saying that he had dropped his son Joseph in the bathroom where he hit his head. He added that the previous week his son had toppled from a swing. When investigators queried him about the bite marks found on the boy’s body, he said a neighbor’s dog had bitten him while secured to a car seat.
Joseph’s mother eventually opened up, saying that Emery bit the child numerous times because he was always crying. She said, he did not allow the child keep medical appointments because he did not want anyone to see the injuries he had inflicted. When police obtained a warrant to search the house, they found pillow cases and Joseph’s clothes stained with dried blood.
Court records show that Jenkins has been involved in domestic-related violence from as far back as 1995. He has been convicted three times for domestic assault, three times for disorderly conduct, once for drunk driving and another time for disobeying a protection order. His ex-girlfriends have cited an addictive use of drugs especially methamphetamine. One girlfriend mentioned that Emery Jenkins had slammed her son’s head into a car door.
Jenkins was penciled for trial early this year and was looking at life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder. Judge Korey Wahwassuck moved for a mistrial in the second week when a defense witness could not testify because of a severe medical condition.
One of the public defenders, Evelyn Schneider, argued that Joseph’s injuries were consistent with the accidents that Emery initially mentioned to investigators. She pointed out that the toddler’s mother had a Vitamin D-deficiency, which could have made the young boy vulnerable to injury.
Several relatives, including Emery’s two younger sisters said he was “a nice guy” and a “good big brother” with a “great personality,” who was always trying to make people laugh. Schneider read two statements from the 39-year-old’s other children, who said that their dad was a loving man who took them fishing, watched sports with them, and cooked for them.
Before his sentencing, Emery told the judge that he loved his son dearly and felt very alone without him in his life. He called the dead baby his “heaven on earth” and wished he could still spend time with him. He waved to his family as he was led away from the courtroom.
Emery Jenkins will get credit for the two years he has already spent in a county jail during his 15-year sentence.
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