Deputies: Murder suspect was trying to chip his way out of Pinellas jail

Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Published Dec. 6, 2013

LARGO — Pinellas County Jail inmate Jamaal Jenkins apparently didn't plan to wait for his trial on two murder charges to decide his fate.

Authorities say he was using a tool fashioned from items he found in the jail to try to bore through the concrete wall of his cell in an escape attempt. He even made a false wall surface to conceal his work, they said.

During a check Nov. 28, detention deputies found "suspicious markings" on the wall and around a window of Jenkins' maximum-security cell, said Pinellas County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. David DiSano.

A closer look revealed that Jenkins, 26, had been hiding the chips he'd made in the cell walls by using forms he got at the commissary and gray and white paint he peeled from jail walls, according to an arrest affidavit.

Jenkins used pieces of air vents and a broken nail clipper to scrape at the walls.

He didn't get far. The damage to the walls was minor, but he now faces charges of attempted escape and possession of contraband in the county jail.

In January, deputies found Destynee Nekole Burkes, Jenkins' former girlfriend, in a Lealman hotel room with a fatal gunshot wound, the Sheriff's Office said. A week later, St. Petersburg police found Tieyannie Dewitte Hollis, 31, whom Burkes had been dating, shot to death at the Mariners Pointe Apartments.

Authorities accused Jenkins of both slayings. He was arrested a month later in Louisiana and charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

In May, he was extradited to Pinellas and booked into the jail, where he remained Thursday.