GREENVILLE — A man was sentenced to life in prison Friday for killing a woman, then dismembering her and leaving her hands and feet at the house of another woman as blackmail.
A Greenville County jury found Clarence Jenkins guilty of murder and kidnapping before a judge handed down the maximum punishment.
Jenkins, 28, and his 24-year-old wife lured 34-year-old Mekole Harris into their home nearly three years ago. Jenkins, posing as a police officer, handcuffed Harris to a chair, put a trash bag over her head and choked her to death with a cable cord, prosecutors said.
The couple then cut off Harris’ hands and feet and left them in plastic bags at the home of another woman the couple had a three-way relationship with in hopes of forcing her to pay them $10,000, authorities said. The woman in the home had no relationship with the victim.
Jenkins’ wife, Carmen, pleaded guilty to murder last month and was sentenced to 50 years in prison; she testified against her husband hoping to have that sentenced reduced.
In his closing statement, Solicitor Walt Wilkins reminded jurors about the painstaking clean-up Jenkins did after using a gardening tool to cut off Harris’ feet and hands in a shower. He scraped the molding with a spoon and burned and spray painted the shower to try to cover up the crime, Wilkins said, according to The Greenville News.
“They killed her, they dismembered her and they used her body for their own selfish purposes,” Wilkins said.
Defense attorney John Mauldin reminded jurors that Carmen Jenkins was seen on video delivering the body parts and was the mastermind behind the plot, because she was angry the other woman broke up their plans to be together.
“This case is filled with relationships based on intimidation, anxiety, separation, strangeness, bizarre conduct, crazy letters, notes and behavior,” Mauldin said. “And when the normal, everyday person tries to analyze it, it gets a little bit crazy. It is beyond comprehension.”