Joseph Jenkins

Leonardtown, MD — A Lexington Park man has been sentenced to 45 years in jail for the March 19, 2015 armed robbery of the Rod ‘N Reel convenience store in Dameron. Joseph Jenkins, 22, was sentenced Feb. 1 in St. Mary’s County Circuit Court by Judge David Densford. Jenkins was the last of three defendants to be sentenced in the incident.

During the sentencing hearing Assistant State’s Attorney Jaymi Sterling identified Jenkins as the ringleader of three who robbed the store. The judge was shown surveillance video of three masked men entering the store, with one brandishing a shotgun and another a pistol. The pistol was found to be loaded but not the shotgun.

The judge was also show videos from the police cars that pursued the getaway car and then eventually stopped the car at Garrett Mobile Home Park on Route 5 in Park Hall. The driver of the car, Darrell Battle, was immediately apprehended. The two others could be seen fleeing, Jenkins and Robert Morgan and were eventually apprehended.

Battle, 21 of Lexington Park, was sentenced Oct. 14 of last year to a total of 20 years. Morgan, 20, also of Lexington Park, was sentenced in September to 20 years, with five years suspended.

State sentencing guidelines for Jenkins called for seven to 13 years, although the maximum penalty for armed robbery is 30 years. Jenkins’ attorney George Harper of Upper Marlboro asked for a sentence below the guidelines and Sterling asked for the 30 years.

Harper said his client apparently was motivated by his inability to find work and the need to support his family.

The judge was possibly swayed to impose a sentence higher than the guidelines because of a written victim impact statements from the clerk at the time of the robbery. The statements were read by Sterling. The clerk wrote to the judge, “Ever since this robbery I have been unable to sleep.” She said she tried to continue to work the night shift but was unable to do so which led to a reduction in her hours and loss of needed pay.

Jenkins apologized to the victim. He said, “I hope she will find it in her heart to forgive me.” He added, “No matter what you do you can always change your life around.”

Jenkins will have a lot of time to turn his life around in the state penal system. The judge authorized the Patuxent Institute so he can receive rehabilitation under the state’s “Youthful Offender” program. Densford said under the current sentence he would not be eligible for parole until half his sentence was complete. He said if Jenkins does well in jail he might, and he emphasized the word “might,” be receptive to a reconsideration of sentence after five years had been served.

The judge gave Jenkins credit for the 318 days he has served in the St. Mary’s County Detention Center awaiting sentencing. He had pled guilty to the charges last September and sentencing was delayed while a pre-sentence investigation was conducted by the Department of Parole and Probation.

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