QUEENSBURY — The central New York man who was convicted of murder for the killing last summer of Glens Falls resident Kevin Jenks was sentenced to 50 years to life in state prison during an emotional hearing Tuesday.
Warren County Judge John Hall deemed Robert M. Henry a “persistent violent felon” and imposed consecutive sentences for the killing last July of the 58-year Jenks in his Dix Avenue home and crimes that occurred along with the homicide.
Hall pointed out that Henry had seven prior robbery convictions dating back nearly three decades before he was involved in the killing of Jenks.
“He is a cold, calculated killer who deserves the absolute maximum,” Warren County Assistant District Attorney Matthew Burin said.
Henry reiterated his innocence before Hall imposed the sentence, saying his co-defendant was to blame for Jenks’ killing but that he was sorry about being involved in the robbery that led to the killing.
“I’m not the man responsible for Mr. Jenks’ death,” Henry said.
He went on to read a long statement in which he claimed his rights were violated by police and prosecutors during the investigation, questioned whether he was discriminated against because he is black and said he was “denied my right to due process and a fair trial.”
Hall imposed the sentence after hearing tearful victims’ impact statements from Jenks’ daughter and sister, who told of the loss of a beloved and giving man.
Daughter Monique Reyes urged the judge to “lock him up forever” after telling the judge her father was a “loving, compassionate, giving man.”
Jenks’ sister, Cindy Jenks, explained that her surviving brother, who suffered a traumatic brain injury, doesn’t understand why Kevin Jenks is no longer coming to see him.
She said Kevin Jenks was the family’s stabilizing force.
“It was Kevin who gave our family strength to carry on when tragedy hit us,” Cindy Jenks said.
Henry’s lawyer, Tucker Stanclift, said his client lost both parents to cancer by age 7 and was deeply affected by the loss. Childhood grief left untreated often leads to drug problems and other emotional issues, Stanclift said.
“It is no wonder he has failed to address some of those issues,” he said.
Stanclift pointed to Henry’s co-defendant, Kevin S. Chapman, saying he lied to Hall and was initially charged with intentionally killing Jenks.
“At least Mr. Henry didn’t get on the (witness) stand and lie to you,” Stanclift said.
The judge, though, pointed out that Chapman pleaded guilty and was remorseful. He also rejected Henry’s contention he did not get a fair trial.
Henry, 46, of Ilion was found guilty during a trial earlier this year on charges of second-degree murder, robbery, burglary, grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.
He was found to have plotted to rob Jenks, who he knew from Henry’s time living in the Glens Falls area several years ago. Jenks was choked to death.
Jenks ran a South Street bar for years and was a manager at the CR Bard Co. medical device plant.
Co-defendant Chapman, 50, of Herkimer, also of was sentenced to 18 years to life after he pleaded guilty and testified against Henry, telling the jury that he watched Henry choke a bound Jenks to death.
Hall determined that Henry was a “violent persistent felon” because of a criminal history in the New York City area that included four separate violent felony convictions.
The 50-to-life sentence means Henry won’t be eligible for parole until he has served 50 years.
Stanclift filed a notice of appeal during the hearing.