HIGH POINT — A man who has been behind bars nearly three decades for the 1992 murder of a pizza delivery driver has been released on parole.
Shantu Jenkins’ release from the Davidson Correctional Center in Lexington was confirmed Friday by the N.C. Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission.
Jenkins was one of five young men charged in the Dec. 9, 1992, slaying of Kevin Dean Hodgin, a 35-year-old Domino’s Pizza delivery driver, during an armed robbery outside the Domino’s store on Kirkwood Street.
The victim’s father, 83-year-old Chet Hodgin of Jamestown, said he was notified earlier this week that Jenkins had been released.
“I knew it was coming — this was not a surprise to me — but I’m just sorry to see it happen,” Hodgin said Friday. “I’ve been fighting this thing for years, ever since he was first eligible for parole.”
Jenkins, now 45, was cleared for parole through the state’s Mutual Agreement Parole Program, which prepares selected inmates for reentry into society. He became eligible for the program two years ago and was told he would be paroled by January 2022 at the latest if he stayed out of trouble while incarcerated.
Hodgin was aware of Jenkins’ possible parole through MAPP, but he was still disappointed when he learned the parole had been approved.
“I’ve been writing letters and doing all kinds of stuff to keep them locked up,” he said. “I’m at the end of my rope, but they didn’t ask for my opinion. I guess I’ve done all I can do.”
During the 1992 robbery, even as Hodgin begged for his life, he was brutally beaten and shot three times — twice in the head — with a .38-caliber revolver, and left for dead as the young men fled with just over $100 Hodgin had earned in tips that night. Triggerman German Jermaine Grace and Jenkins — who newspaper accounts indicate jerked Hodgin from his vehicle and threw him to the ground — were sentenced to life in prison, while the other three received lesser sentences.
In Jenkins’ case, a Guilford County jury needed only eight minutes on Sept. 10, 1993, to return a conviction on charges of first-degree murder and armed robbery. Following his sentencing, Jenkins defiantly declared his innocence and bolted for the exit, trying to leap over a courtroom defense table before being tackled and then shackled by several bailiffs and a pair of High Point police detectives.
The state’s current sentencing law eliminates parole for crimes committed on or after Oct. 1, 1994, but the state must allow parole for those sentenced under previous sentencing guidelines calling for it.
Now, nearly three decades after his arrest, Jenkins has regained his freedom, while the convicted shooter, German Grace, remains incarcerated.
Meanwhile, Chet Hodgin — who for years fought so hard to keep both inmates behind bars — seems resigned.
“I fought the good fight,” Hodgin said, “and now it’s time to rest.”
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