, 2000

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APRIL  15, 1999  7:08 PM
Death Penalty Information Center
Gerald Zerkin, Esq. 804/649-8547
Deidre Enright, Esq. 804/272-3223
Victim Of Shocking, Official Abuse Facing Imminent Execution In Virginia; Leading Execution State Plans April 20th Death For Mentally Ill Man Who Killed His Uncle
WASHINGTON - April 15 - Arthur Jenkins was convicted of murder just 37 days after being released from a Virginia jail that was rife with drug and sexual abuse by institution officials against the inmates under their charge. The facility in Washington County was the subject of an FBI undercover operation focusing on sex, drugs and embezzlement allegations against the sheriff.

Jenkins's sad, but brief, life story is one of continual mistreatment by his family and by the institutions he was sent to. Accounts of sexual abuse and beatings date back to at least age four. These led to his removal from his home at age six and to a tortured path through 19 state institutions, some of which made urgent recommendations for comprehensive treatment. Unfortunately, little was done to actually address Jenkins's schizophrenia and other problems.

With a little over a year remaining before his 21st birthday and his release from juvenile supervision, Virginia officials were at a loss about what to do with Jenkins until a jail in a remote county near the Tennessee border suspiciously offered to take this young man. There he was submerged in a world of surreptitious drug regimens and sexual abuse under the official eye of the jail administrators.

Jenkins was kept in the jail for two months beyond his parole date. He was then released with no support or medication for his serious mental condition. With nowhere to go, he ended up at his uncle's house near Front Royal, Virginia. By some accounts, this was the same uncle that abused Jenkins as a child. Jenkins was convicted of killing his uncle and a friend, thirty-seven days after release from the notorious jail and Virginia's juvenile system. His trial attorneys admit mishandling Jenkins's history of mental illness and so the jury was left with no understanding of the rage and lack of treatment which led to this tragedy.

Barring a stay in the courts or clemency from the Governor, Arthur Jenkins's troubled life will be ended on Tuesday night, April 20th.

In the past five years, Virginia has led the country in per capita executions. It has had the smallest percentage of cases granted relief through appeals, it is second only to Texas in the number of executions, and executes people at a much faster pace. This will be the 6th execution in Virginia this year, a record pace, and the 65th execution since the death penalty was reinstated.


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