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Ex-Harding girls basketball coach pleads innocent to killing his wife



Published: Sat, April 2, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Her body was found in a closet in the couple's home.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- A former Harding High School girls basketball coach has pleaded innocent to a charge that he killed his wife.

The Trumbull County grand jury secretly indicted David Jenkins on Friday morning on a charge of murder. Jenkins is accused of the May 2004 strangulation of his wife, Deana.

If convicted, he could face 15 years to life in prison, said Chris Becker, the assistant Trumbull County prosecutor handling the case.

Judge John Stuard of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court set Jenkins' bond at $100,000, and he scheduled a pretrial hearing for April 11.

Co-workers of Deana Jenkins showed up in court wearing buttons with her picture.

"I am glad someone was charged with her murder," said Tammy Vesey, one of the co-workers. "This is so tragic because it seems they were a nice family."

Moments after the hearing, which started about 4 p.m. Friday, Jenkins was taken to Trumbull County jail and then released on bond.

Turning himself in

Jenkins had turned himself in at the police station at 2 p.m. He was brought there by Vince Peterson, a county probation officer.

"I had talked to members of his family earlier this morning, and then Dave called me and we agreed that I'd go meet him and bring him to the police station," said Peterson. "I've known him since we were kids. I played basketball with his brother."

Peterson declined to say where he met Jenkins but said the two did not discuss the case on the drive to the police station.

"We just talked a little about prayer and faith," Peterson said.

Warren police had gone to Jenkins' home earlier in the day, but he wasn't there.

"I don't have anything to say right now," Jenkins said as he waited in the lobby of the police department Friday afternoon. His mother entered the room and hugged him.

"I'm OK," Jenkins told her as he handed her his wallet and other personal items.

Jenkins met with police for a short time before being taken to court for arraignment.

Murder

The body of Deana Jenkins, 39, was found May 20 in a closet in the couple's Clearwater Street Northwest home.

A 911 tape shows police were called by a female neighbor to the home of Deana and David Jenkins at about 8:30 p.m. that day. The woman said she was asked by someone from the Jenkins' family to call police because their phones were not working.

Another neighbor called 911 a few minutes later asking for an ambulance and police. When the dispatcher asked for more details, the woman handed the phone to a Jenkins family member who said Mrs. Jenkins was not breathing and was found in a closet, according to the 911 tape.

The couple lived in the home with their two children.

Deana Jenkins had worked at the Trumbull County Child Support Enforcement Agency for 10 years as an enforcement specialist.

David Jenkins last coached the varsity girls basketball team during the 2003-04 season. He was the first black head coach of the varsity girls team.

He was inducted in 2003 into the Trumbull African American Achievers Hall of Fame. He also is a former pastor at New Jerusalem Church here.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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