Jerome Jenkins

A jury has sentenced Jerome Jenkins to death in the Sunhouse murder trial.

An Horry County jury today decided that a man shown on videos killing two convenience store employees and robbing another should pay with his life shortly after a forensic psychiatrist who said he clearly knew he was doing wrong when he participated in the crimes.

Dr. Donna Schwartz-Maddox, the final witness in the trial that started this past Thursday, said there is absolutely no doubt in her mind that Jenkins, who was only 20-years-old when the crimes happened, was under the influence of his co-defendants McKinley Daniels and James Daniels, who were both much older.

James was in his late 20s and McKinley was over 30, she said.

She also emphasized that a person’s brain isn’t completely developed until age 25 or even 30.

At the time, she said, Jenkins and his girlfriend, Lonnice Grant, were living in a mobile home without heat, water or electricity and she was pregnant. They already had a son, Giovanni, that others testified Jenkins loved very much. Schwartz-Maddox said there were several charges of domestic violence, but only one conviction for Jenkins. She said his girlfriend at times used their son as leverage against Jenkins and it was at this time that McKinley Daniels stepped in to give Jenkins some comfort.

McKinley had been out of prison only four months at the time of the Sunhouse convenience store killings.

The 37-year-old pleaded guilty in January to murder in the death of Bala Paruchuri, who was working in a Sunhouse convenience store on Red Bluff Road and S.C. 905, and armed robbery in the robbery of store clerk Trisha Stull, who was killed in the Sunhouse store on Oak Street at Cultra Road in Conway. Both killings happened in January of 2015.

McKinley’s brother, James Elbert Daniels Jr., 31, of Nichols was found guilty by a jury of armed robbery and murder in connection with the killing of 30-year-old Trisha Stull.

He was sentenced to life in prison without chance of parole.

Schwartz-Maddox testified that Jenkins’ mom beat him with a fan belt, ax handle and hose pipe when he was young because she couldn’t control him.

Schwartz-Maddox also said that when the child went back into the house with his brothers after he had been beaten they made fun of him and that made the situation even worse.

Jenkins’ mother also taught her children about sex at very early ages and much of what she told them was incorrect, the psychiatrist said.

They lived in a very small mobile home and Jenkins could hear his mother having sex, she said.

His father went to jail before he was born and didn’t get out until about four years ago. Schwartz-Maddox said Jenkins Jr. frequently worried about following in his father’s footsteps, and asked himself, “Am I like my dad? Am I bad?”

Between the ages of 2 and 4, he always wanted to be outside and was more energetic than other children.

He got into a fight his first day in kindergarten and after that was frequently in trouble at school.

When Jenkins was 9-years-old experts diagnosed him as learning disabled. Although his IQ was about average, his performance skills were lower and he had trouble reading.

He could learn, the psychiatrist said, he just needed some special help.

In the ninth grade, she said, he began to flourish in some areas. He was proficient in math, but a little behind in verbal skills.

Schwartz-Maddox said Jenkins’ family lived in a very rough area that was identified by other witnesses as the Playcard area.

By the time he was 13, he had already been shot at.

Three of his cousins died, one was shot in the head, but his worst trauma came when a friend, identified only as Marcus, left to get gas and never came back because he was killed while he was away. The psychiatrist said Jenkins blamed himself somewhat for not being with Marcus when he died.

When he got to the S.C. Department of Corrections, officials found that Jenkins had stab wounds on his side, but Schwartz-Maddox said while he was living with his girlfriend he was perfectly willing to work and had been working two jobs. He lost a job when Grant went to his workplace and the two engaged in a heated argument.

He had been self-medicating himself with a huge amount of Xanax that was not prescribed by a doctor, and marijuana.

She diagnosed him as having posttraumatic stress syndrome, PTSD, saying his brain had changed from the constant trauma that he had experienced during his life.

At the S.C. Department of Corrections, he suffered from insomnia, some nights sleeping no more than three hours.

Five detention officials testified Tuesday that Jenkins had thrown body fluids on them, cut one with a homemade knife, shoved one, threatened to kill them and more.

His trouble with authority dates back to his school days when he was suspended and later put on homebound for a list of infractions that included disturbing class, causing disturbances outside of class, refusing to obey, being disrespectful, stealing, causing class altercations and touching inappropriately.

Schwartz-Maddox said Jenkins was also dealing with attention deficit disorder and oppositional defiance disorder.


I'm the editor of the Horry Independent, a weekly newspaper in Conway, South Carolina. I cover city hall and courts, among many other subjects. Know of a good story? Call me at 843-488-7241.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.