DUI driver Jenkins sentenced to 8-20 years
With the family of the victim of a July 4 fatal crosswalk accident looking on Monday, Jerry Joe Jenkins was given the maximum, 8-20 year, sentence in prison for felony driving under the influence causing death.
Daniel Montano took the witness stand Monday, looked across the courtroom at the man who killed his wife, then turned his attention to a written statement.
“After today, this other man will cease to exist for me,” Montano read in a steady voice. “But one thing that neither of us will ever forget is what happened the night of July Fourth.”
That night, Montano was on the way to Mills Park with his wife, Brenda Jarman, 41, and two of their sons to watch fireworks when a pickup driven by Jenkins, 47, sped toward the Roop Street crosswalk. Everyone scattered, but Brenda was struck. She died 90 minutes later after being taken to Washoe Medical Center.
Jenkins had a blood alcohol level of .28 percent, tests showed. He also had a second offense to driving under the influence arrest only nine days earlier, when his blood alcohol level was .27 percent. And he has three earlier DUI convictions.
Jenkins came to court Monday, three months after Jarman’s death, to be sentenced. He had pleaded guilty to that charge, as well as to a misdemeanor second offense DUI on the June arrest, without even seeking a plea bargain.
“I know what he is going to do on the day he gets out,” Montano said. “He’s going to drown that memory.
“I cannot save my wife’s life, but I can do what I can to save another person’s life,” Montano said as he asked that Jenkins be kept in prison as long as possible.
Nevada Public Defender Steve McGuire argued the Jenkins did not deserve the maximum sentence being recommended by the prosecution, the state parole board and probation office.
“To give Mr. Jenkins the maximum sentences is to say, in effect, that he is the worst person who has committed the most egregious circumstances of this crime,” McGuire said. “There is evidence that people who drink and drive can change. If not, then the maximum sentence should be imposed in every case of drinking and driving.”
Despite his drinking problem, McGuire said, Jenkins was a good man who gave rides to the elderly, delivered produce from the community garden, lent money and otherwise helped people. He asked that Jenkins receive a 3- to 10-year sentence.
But prosecutor Anne Langer suggested that Jenkins’ crime was the worst that could happen.
“This was horrible. The children lost their mother right in front of their eyes. Mr. Montano had his wife die in his arms,” Langer told District Judge Michael Fondi.
“Yet Mr. Jenkins had every opportunity to change. This man was attending his counseling and drinking and driving at the same time. He was stopped because his pickup had a tail light out June 25 and his blood alcohol level was .27.
“Nine days later he is out driving again and he kills somebody,” Langer said. “I don’t know how much worse it can get.”
Jenkins declined a chance to make a statement before the sentence was imposed.
“What happened is what the legislature seeks to prevent by setting such stiff penalties – the death of another human being,” Fondi said. “There is the potential for that to happen in every DUI.”
Fondi noted that Jenkins had a total of five DUI convictions, but also that he had pleaded guilty rather than put Jarman’s family through a series of court hearings.
“She has given up her life for no good reason other than going to Mills Park to watch fireworks with her family and I think that has to be accounted for,” Fondi said of Jarman’s death.
He sentenced Jenkins to 8-20 years in prison, to start after Jenkins completed the six-month sentence he is serving in the Carson City Jail for the June arrest. He also ordered restitution of $22,215.92 for medical and burial costs for the victim, but expressed doubt it would be paid.
After the hearing, Montano said he believes he will be able to wipe Jenkins from his memory, but that it will be harder for his sons.
He said they are getting through life one day at a time. Friends and family have been important and helpful in that, he said.
Two sons, Derek and Justin, chose to attend the sentencing hearing because they thought it would help them deal with the loss of their mother.
“It brings a sense of closure to all this,” Montano said. He also said it helped that Jenkins admitted his guilt and did not extend the process.
The Montano-Jarman family is remaining in Carson City for now, so the boys can complete the school year, Montano said. Whether they will stay here after that is undecided, he said.