News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Jenkins set to cut plea deal in Hudson killings
Nov 23, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer
The agreement, if accepted, would dismiss some charges and reduce his prison term.
Another defendant in the November 2011 Hudson double homicide case intends to change his plea as part of an agreement that, if accepted, dismisses some charges and lowers his prison term.
According to an order filed Wednesday and signed by 9th Judicial District Court Judge Norman E. Young, Joseph Jude Jenkins, 20, of Arapahoe, is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 6 to change his pleas.
Jenkins originally faced four counts of first-degree murder, two counts each of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, aggravated robbery, conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, and a single arson charge.
But according to the plea agreement, the charges were amended. Jenkins is expected to plead guilty to two counts of aiding and abetting second-degree murder in the deaths of Eric Clinton Likes, 42, and Elva Charlotte Quiver, 20.
Although aiding and abetting second-degree murder is punishable by not less than 20 years and up to life in prison, Jenkins would serve a longer sentence of not less than 70 years or more than life for each charge. The sentences would run concurrently.
"The Defendant further agrees to a full, open and honest proffer meetings with law enforcement," the plea agreement stated.
If Young accepts the deal, Jenkins agrees to being sentenced after disposition of the four other co-defendants in the case. He may be asked to testify truthfully at any and all hearings or trials related to his co-defendants.
Should Jenkins stop cooperating at any time before sentencing, the agreement will be voidable, and he will not be allowed to withdraw his guilty pleas.
If the court rejects the agreement, Jenkins can withdraw his pleas, and prosecutors can proceed to sentencing as if no agreement was in place.
Jenkins has remained in custody of the Fremont County Detention Center in Lander on a $2 million bond since his March arrest.
A January trial was set after Jenkins in August pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental illness or deficiency to 11 charges including first-degree murder. At that time, Young ordered Jenkins to undergo an examination at the Wyoming State Hospital in Evanston.
A not guilty by mental illness plea is a specific subset of a not guilty plea and brings Jenkins's mental health into issue in that he was either incompetent at the time of the crimes or is now incompetent to proceed to trial.
Under the plea agreement, Jenkins would have to give a complete and truthful account of what happened in November 2011, when he and others are charged with stabbing Likes and Quiver to death at Likes's trailer house in Hudson, robbed the couple, and returned to the scene a few days later to set the trailer on fire.
Likes's and Quiver's bodies were found Nov. 17, 2011, after emergency personnel responded to their home that evening for a house fire. Autopsy reports revealed Likes and Quiver were deceased before the fire began and "died as the result of, but not limited to, numerous stab wounds."
Jenkins is alleged to have been one of the co-defendants who stabbed the victims. According to court testimony, the crimes stem from Jenkins and his pregnant wife and co-defendant, Samantha June Hanway, facing eviction and needing rent money.
Jenkins is the third defendant in the case who has sought to enter guilty pleas for some charges in exchange for a lesser sentence.
Earlier this month, co-defendant Ryan Blake Hanway (Myers), 23, of Riverton, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery in exchange for the dismissal of two first-degree murder charges. His agreement stipulates a 10- to 20-year sentence. Hanway remains incarcerated at the detention center on a $1 million bond, pending sentencing.
In September, Samantha June Hanway, 21, of Ethete, pleaded guilty to two counts of aiding and abetting second-degree murder as part of a plea agreement, which dismisses other charges and puts her behind bars for between 25 to 50 years.
Samantha Hanway will also be sentenced at a later date.