Judge suspends north Modesto abduction case

rahumada@modbee.comMay 22, 2013 

John Otis Jenkins


    Rosalio Ahumada
    Title: Courts reporter
    Coverage areas: Criminal cases, breaking news
    Bio: Rosalio Ahumada has been a reporter at The Bee for more than seven years, previously covering crime and public safety issues. He also has worked at the Merced Sun-Star, covering education.
    Recent stories written by Rosalio
    On Twitter: @ModBeeCourts
    E-mail: rahumada@modbee.com

— A judge on Wednesday suspended a case against a man accused of trying to abduct an 8-year-old boy last month in north Modesto; a psychologist has determined the defendant is not mentally fit to be prosecuted.

In a hearing April 17, after the defendant had an outburst as he entered the courtroom, Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Thomas Zeff said he was doubtful John Otis Jenkins had the ability to understand the court proceedings.

With a startled look on his face, Jenkins shouted last month, "Everybody knows I need help!"

The judge ordered psychologist Phil Trompetter to examine 32-year-old Jenkins. Trompetter's report indicated Jenkins is not capable of understanding the court proceedings or assisting his attorney in his own defense.

Zeff said in court Wednesday that Trompetter recommended Jenkins receive psychotropic medication, which could improve his condition and allow the court to resume his criminal case.

In the meantime, the court will have to determine where Jenkins will be housed while receiving treatment. Zeff scheduled a hearing June 12, when he is expected to receive a report that recommends a facility to house the defendant.

Jenkins will remain in custody without bail until his criminal case concludes. He didn't have any outbursts during Wednesday's brief hearing.

The defendant has been charged with kidnapping, along with two misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct, obstruction stemming from a February incident and violating probation in a 2012 grand theft conviction.

In the alleged kidnapping, the boy's mother said her son was playing basketball in his driveway with his 13-year-old brother and a 13-year-old girl who lives next door when they saw the suspect.

She said the man was trying to open the neighbor's door and was looking in her windows. That is when police say Jenkins walked over, picked up the 8-year-old and walked away.

Modesto police said the 13-year-old girl ran to the boy's aid and pulled him out of Jenkins' grasp. The children ran inside and alerted their mothers, who called police.

Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at rahumada@modbee.com or (209) 578-2394.

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