Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Classification: Homicide
Characteristics: Juvenile (15) - Parricide - Revenge for sending him to boarding school
Number of victims: 5
Date of murders: February 2-3, 1996
Date of arrest: Next day
Date of birth: 1980
Victims profile: His adoptive parents, grandparents and sister Megan, 10
Method of murder: Hitting with a hammer and stabbing with knife / Beating with an axe
Location: San Diego County, California, USA
Status: Sentenced to 112 years in prison without parole on June 30, 1997

Joshua Jenkins is an American killer who killed all five members of his family while visiting his grandparents who lived in California in 1996 when he was 15.

He eventually pleaded guilty to five cases of first degree murder for killing his adoptive parents George and Alene Jenkins, his grandparents, William and Evelyn Grossman by hitting them in the head with a hammer and stabbing them with a kitchen knife. He later took his 10 year old sister Megan Jenkins to buy an axe and then murdered her with it.

He also pleaded guilty to a count of arson for setting several condos on fire in an attempt to hide the evidence. He was eventually sentenced to 112 years in prison without parole after the judge ruled he was fit to stand trial despite his defense attempting to plead insanity.


Joshua Jenkins

15-year-old Josh, the poster boy for family dysfunction, allegedly killed his adoptive parents, grandparents and sister during a visit to his grandparents' condominium in San Diego County because he was unhappy about being sent to the Vista del Mar boarding school for troubled youths in West Los Angeles.

On February 2, 1996, his family -- who lived in Las Vegas -- picked him up from school and took him to his grandparent's condominium in the exclusive community of The Terraces to spend the weekend. There, after an argument with his mother, he bludgeoned his parents and grandparents to death with a hammer. Inexplicably, somehow he kept his 10-year-old sister Megan from discovering the carnage.

The next morning he took her with him to buy an axe which he used to kill her once they returned to the condo. That afternoon, Megan's friend Phaedra telephoned to speak to her pal, but Josh told her "something has come up. Megan's really busy right now and can't talk."

Shortly after, Josh torched the condo to cover up the crime and sped away in the family's silver Mercedes Benz. The youth was arrested the next morning after he stopped at an AM/PM Minimarket off California 78 where he inquired about what route to take to Las Vegas. The clerk at the market recognized the youth from the description in the local paper and called 911.

When police arrested him, Josh was verbally abusive. Curiously, he had his grandparent's white poodle with him.

Initially Josh pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Although all psychologist and psychiatrist who have examined the troubled youth agree that he is mentally ill, some do not consider him insane.

On April 16, 1997, a day before his trail was set to begin, Josh changed his plea to guilty. Jenkins' defense lawyer, Jack Campbell, said the plea change was in the teen-ager's best interest but was unusual because neither the judge nor the prosecutors made concessions. If found insane, he could be sentenced to a state hospital. If found sane, he faces a maximum of 140 years in prison.


Josh Jenkins

June 30, 1997

Teenage family annihilator Josh Jenkins was sentenced to 112 years to life for killing his adoptive parents, grandparents and sister during a weekend visit to the grandparent's condominium north of San Diego.

Jenkins said he killed his family in revenge for his parents sending him to boarding school. Judge John Einhorn called the familicide, "vicious, savage and almost incomprehensible."


Jurors start considering teen's fate

In closing arguments, the prosecution and the defense take turns criticizing each other's expert testimony on Josh Jenkins

By Anne Neville - Review-Journal

Wednesday, May 28, 1997

VISTA, Calif. -- The five-week sanity phase of a trial for a Las Vegas teen-ager who admitted killing five members of his family ended Tuesday with a flurry of charges and countercharges.

At the end of the day, the 10-woman, two-man jury got the case and spent about 10 minutes in the jury room before being sent home. They will decide whether Josh Jenkins, who turns 17 on Thursday, was sane on Feb. 3, 1996, when he killed his parents, his grandparents and his sister during a Jenkins family visit to the grandparents' Vista condominium.

On April 16, Jenkins pleaded guilty to five counts of first-degree murder and one count of arson for starting several fires in the condo before fleeing. The verdict will determine whether he is sent to prison or a mental institution.

Public defender Jack Campbell began his closing comments citing testimony from four psychiatrists in his argument that Jenkins was insane at the time of the killings.

Campbell emphasized the number of educational and mental health experts who had seen problems developing in Jenkins, who was taken for treatment starting when he was 5 years old. Campbell cited experts in the Clark County School District, including school psychologist Judith Skomars, who testified she was worried by the boy's behavior.

The attorney criticized the prosecution's main witness, forensic psychiatrist Park Dietz, who has found many high-profile killers sane, including Jeffrey Dahmer and John du Pont. Dietz testified that Jenkins may be schizophrenic but was not insane at the time of the crimes.

"His work is biased. It's inadequate, and it's flawed," Campbell said. "And his conclusion that Joshua was not insane is flawed."

In turn, Assistant District Attorney Mark Pettine criticized the work of the experts who testified for the defense.

Pettine said the jury is more qualified to determine Jenkins' mental state at the time of the crimes because psychiatrist Mark Kalish lacked a knowledge of the facts, psychiatrist Paul Strauss lacked a knowledge of the law, and psychiatrist Norton Roitman lacked "common sense."

Roitman's testimony "was about as 'out there' as it got in this case," Pettine said.

Standing in front of a chart headlined "Five Steps to Murder," Pettine said the evidence showed Jenkins planned the crimes, committed them, cleaned up afterward, covered up what he had done by lying to people who called on the telephone and attempted to escape back to Las Vegas.

He reminded the jury that Jenkins had asked a counselor at the school for disturbed youngsters where he was living if the quickest way to kill a person was by cutting his throat and told the counselor, "Watch, I won't be back here next week" before the slayings.

Pointing to Jenkins, who sat expressionless at the end of the defense table, Pettine said, his voice rising, that Jenkins' sister Megan, 10, was killed the day after the adults because "she trusted him ... she trusted her big brother to take care of her."

Pettine said the testimony of Jeff Rowe, Jenkins' psychiatrist at Juvenile Hall, was "the most ridiculous part of the defense." Rowe said Jenkins had attempted suicide eight or nine times in custody. "How come it didn't work?" Pettine shouted. "How come he's still alive?

"Megan Jenkins died of nine stab wounds to the heart. Do you think he knows how the body works?" Pettine asked.

"What kind of person is Joshua Jenkins?" Pettine asked the jury. "He's very smart. He's filled with anger, he's filled with hatred, and he loves violence ... he's self-absorbed. In Joshua Jenkins' mind, the world revolves around Joshua Jenkins."

Pettine finished his argument by thanking the jury and telling them, "I trust you'll do the right thing."

In his rebuttal, Public defender William LaFond said the prosecution's argument was "wrong, disingenuous and desperate."

LaFond again criticized Dietz, whom he said spends his time "flying all over the country, big case after big case, prosecutor's office to prosecutor's office" with a "built-in bias."

LaFond called schizophrenia "the mother of all issues in this case," and asked, "How many questions did the prosecution ask the six experts about schizophrenia and its effects on people? None. They wish it would just all go away."

"Don't come back with a mixed verdict," LaFond told the jury. "The evidence doesn't support mixed verdicts."

The jury could find that Jenkins was insane during some of the crimes but sane during others. The jury must vote separately on each of the six crimes.


Teen-Ager Pleads Guilty To Killing 5 in Family

The New York Times

Friday, April 18, 1997

A 16-year-old Nevada boy accused of killing five members of his family last year has pleaded guilty on the eve of his trial.

The teen-ager, Joshua Jenkins, pleaded guilty on Wednesday, the day before his trial had been scheduled to begin. A jury will now decide whether Joshua was sane at the time of the killings. If found sane, he could receive 140 years to life in prison, prosecutors said.

He was 15 when he killed his adoptive parents and his grandparents on Feb. 2, 1996, by hitting them in the head with a hammer and stabbing them in a visit to his grandparents' condominium. The next day, the police said, he took his 10-year-old sister to buy an ax and then killed her with it.

Joshua was arrested a few miles away in his parents' car after he set several fires to try to hide the killings, the police said.

Prosecutors said that before the killings, Joshua had been distraught over having been sent to a home for troubled youngsters after attacking his father.



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