CLINTON — A young man serving a life sentence for murder enjoyed a taste of freedom in the 1970s and the early 1980s, but his apparent desire to be a policeman landed him back in Angola.
LeRoy Jenkins, now 57, pleaded guilty on March 1, 1972, to second-degree murder in the shooting death of 63-year-old Edward Trask in a rural area of East Feliciana Parish near the Mississippi state line. He was accused of taking Trask’s wallet and several hundred dollars after shooting him with a .22-caliber rifle stolen from a hunting camp in July 1971. Jenkins was 15 at the time the crime was committed. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the benefit of parole. Jenkins didn’t stay long in prison, however. Louisiana State Penitentiary authorities said Jenkins escaped in December 1973. He made his way to Chicago, where he got a job and settled down until he was arrested again in 1982. Jim Boren, the attorney who now represents Jenkins, said his client’s downfall in Illinois apparently was filling out an application to become a Chicago police officer.
An incident report written by an Angola officer describes his “release” in a little more detail, however, saying Jenkins and another inmate escaped on Dec. 21, 1973, while working on a farm line. They left the field from behind Angola’s sugar mill, the report says.
Chase teams followed the two into the hills between Angola and Fort Adams, Miss., then learned that two escapees had broken into a house, tied up a woman and taken a shotgun and a pickup truck. Angola officers talked to a man at Pond, Miss., who said he came home to find his mother tied up and two inmates armed with his shotgun and two cane knives. The two left after taking $400 and his truck keys, the report says. Police later found the stolen truck in Scotlandville, and the other inmate was arrested in August 1974 in Morgan City.