Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jury in Jenkins' Retrial Kept in Dark; They Won't Be Told about the Earlier Trial in the Kidnapping-Murder Case

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jury in Jenkins' Retrial Kept in Dark; They Won't Be Told about the Earlier Trial in the Kidnapping-Murder Case

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson

BRUNSWICK | A Glynn County jury hearing evidence in Larry L. Jenkins Jr.'s trial this week on murder, robbery and kidnapping charges won't know they will be the second panel to sit in judgment in a 1993 case.

Another Glynn County jury convicted Jenkins of malice murder in 1995 and sentenced him to die. After Jenkins lived years on Death Row, the sentence was set aside after the Supreme Court ruled defendants can't be executed for crimes they committed as juveniles. Jenkins was 17 on Jan. 8, 1993, when 37-year-old Terry Ralston and her son Michael, 15, were kidnapped from their family's coin-operated laundry in Jesup and shot to death.

Later, a Superior Court judge found that Jenkins' counsel in the first trial was ineffective, set aside his conviction and said he was entitled to a new trial. Because the crime received such widespread news coverage in Jesup, the second trial, like the first, was moved 40 miles south to Brunswick to find an impartial jury.

The physical evidence from the first trial, the victims' bloody clothing, the pistol used to shoot them and crime scene photos will be used again but Public Defender Jonathan Lockwood got assurance from Superior Court Judge Stephen Scarlett all of the old evidence markers were removed so the jury couldn't deduce there had been another trial.

Also, Scarlett ruled prosecuters can use a 13-page confession that the late Superior Court Judge Blynn Taylor Jr. had excluded at the first trial.

In her opening statement, District Attorney Jackie Johnson told the jury that Terry and Michael Ralston were cleaning Terry's father, Allen Carter's, coin-operated laundromat on Macon Street in Jesup around 7:30 p.m. when they were abducted at gunpoint, forced into Terry Ralston's van, taken to a spot outside town and killed. A train crew spotted their bodies the next day, she said.

Terry Ralston was outside beating out some rugs Jan. 9, 1993, when Jenkins approached through an alley at the side of the building and pointed a gun at her, Johnson said.

"He said, 'Call your son,' '' Johnson said.

When Michael came out, Jenkins told him to get his mother's van, Johnson said, and when Michael came back with it Terry Ralston told her son to drive away, Johnson said.

"She tried to save her son. Michael wouldn't do it,'' she said.

Jenkins and Terry Ralston got into the 1991 Chevrolet Lumina van and Jenkins had him drive to a remote area, she said.

"The 15-year-old son was driving, afraid for his mom. The mom was afraid for her son,'' Johnson said.

Former Georgia State Patrol Trooper Ray Jackson testified he had seen the van parked on Cowboy Road that night, but when he came back 15 to 20 minutes later, it was gone.

It was off Cowboy Road that Jenkins shot Terry Ralston once in the head and her son five times in the back and once in the temple, Johnson said. …

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