Crime - Sacto 911

Sacramento prosecutors will not retry murder case

Sacramento County prosecutors announced Wednesday that they will not retry Lionel Lee Jenkins in the April 29, 2013, north area shooting death of Jordan Parker.

“Your Honor, the people have a motion to dismiss for insufficiency of evidence,” Deputy District Attorney Jeff Hightower told Sacramento Superior Court Judge Gary E. Ransom.

Jenkins, 33, who has been in custody for more than 15 months, was expected to be released sometime Wednesday, according to his defense attorney, Linda Parisi.

“There’s no reason he should not,” Parisi said. “He’s going to go home to his family. I know he’s looking forward to reuniting with his wife and parents.”

Parisi said Jenkins “had a lot of confidence in the criminal justice system, and he believed the right thing would happen.”

Authorities arrested Jenkins in September 2013 and charged him with murder in the killing of Parker, 26, in the Cancun Plaza Apartments in North Sacramento. Prosecutors said the shooting resulted from a dispute that erupted between Parker and Jenkins when the defendant’s daughter did not pay the victim’s girlfriend for a $40 hair weave.

The case against Jenkins had largely been based on the testimony of a long-time prostitute and a drug dealer who called police after he had been arrested, both of whom identified Jenkins as the shooter.

A jury could not reach a verdict in Jenkins’ murder trial, and on Dec. 22, Judge Cheryl Chun Meegan declared a mistrial. The vote was 7-5 in favor of acquittal.

“I think the District Attorney’s Office took a very responsible look at the evidence, and I appreciate that they made this decision,” Parisi said.

Hightower declined to comment after the judge granted his motion to dismiss the case.

Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Rod Norgaard said earlier in the week that the decision to retry Jenkins for murder would rest on “whether we have a reasonable likelihood of convicting him on a second go-round.”

Parisi said she believes that Jenkins did not match descriptions of the shooter provided by witnesses to police the night of the fatal shooting.

The trial consumed 13 days of pretrial hearings as defense attorneys sought to exclude the prostitute from testifying in the case because she had worked in the past as a paid Sacramento police informant and authorities could not produce the agency’s “red file” on her.

During the trial, Parisi’s husband, Vincent Joseph “Skip” Graves, 69, died of a heart attack. Parisi called the loss of her husband, who was stricken with a heart attack while enjoying his hobby of playing poker, “very difficult.”

Call The Bee’s Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141. Follow him on Twitter @andyfurillo.