PIKE COUNTY, Ohio (WCMH) — Former Pike County deputy Joel Jenkins was found not guilty for the murder and reckless homicide of 26-year-old Robert Rooker.
After five hours of deliberation, the jury came back with the verdict.
Before deliberations, the jury listened to closing arguments from Special Prosecutor Daniel Breyer and Defense Attorney Mark Collins.
Breyer argued that if Jenkins is telling the truth, the fatal shooting of Rooker was justified.
But instead Breyer believed Jenkins’ story was “manufactured” and that the former deputy was lying.
“Joel Jenkins knowingly caused serious physical harm to Robert Rooker and as a result of that physical harm, he died,” said Breyer.
During Jenkins’ testimony, the former deputy said the incident “happened so fast” and that the confrontation between Jenkins and Rooker was what he “perceived” happened on March 28, 2015.
Jenkins claimed Rooker’s vehicle rammed into his cruiser. The two cars started to then spin uncontrollably. That’s when Jenkins said he reached for his gun and fired several shots. Two of those shots that hit Rooker were fatal.
Jenkins attorney, Mark Collins praised the jury for their decision.
“The jury did a great job with the complicated topics. We are just thankful that he had his day in court in a fair trial and that and the outcome he was justified,” said Collins.
Collins said he sympathized with the Rooker family.
“Anytime someone loses a loved one — and again it’s a situation where nothing happens in this case [that] can bring Mr. Rooker back — whether there was a not guilty or guilty verdict, they are always going to feel a certain way. They have a civil case going, and a civil case has a different burden of proof at a different level,” said Collins.
Jenkins is also facing charges in the accidental fatal shooting of his neighbor, 40-year-old Jason Brady. No trial has been scheduled on that charge.