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Okla. man charged with murder in 2011 death of Eastern Regional Jail inmate

June 06, 2012

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Police have made an arrest in the deadly July 2011 fight between two inmates at Eastern Regional Jail near Martinsburg.

Dewarren Bruce Jenkins, 25, of Oklahoma City, has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Melvin Cox, 53, of Bunker Hill, W.Va.. He was arrested May 24 in Oklahoma, West Virginia State Police Sgt. J. D. Burkhart said.

Officials said today that Jenkins has been returned to West Virginia and is being held at the Eastern Regional Jail.

The Virginia Medical Examiner’s office determined that Cox died of blunt force trauma, police said.

His injuries included a skull fracture, traumatic brain injuries and swelling as a result of a fight between Cox and Jenkins on July 25, 2011, according to police.

Jenkins was released from the Eastern Regional Jail before the warrant charging him with Cox’s death was obtained, police said. 

Police allege the fight began after Jenkins told Cox he didn’t want his cell cleaned with a dirty mop.

When Jenkins told Cox to dip the mop in the bucket, Cox replied that “the mop was still good” and then they began to argue, police said.

Jenkins allegedly told authorities that the argument became physical when Cox started poking him in the chest and would not stop when asked, police said. Jenkins said Cox also was yelling at him when he began hitting the victim, police said.

According to police, Jenkins could not remember how many times he struck Cox.

Correctional officers found Cox on the floor and saw Jenkins yelling at the victim, police said. One correctional officer observed Jenkins with a mop in his hand, swinging it around but did not observe Cox actually strike anyone with it, police said.

Multiple correctional officers only saw the aftermath of the altercation; a large amount of blood on the floor and Jenkins standing in front of the cell that Cox was in, police said.

Cox died at the Winchester (Va.) Medical Center on July 29, 2011, police said.

Members of the U.S. Marshals Service and the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office found Jenkins on May 24. He was placed under arrest as a fugitive from justice, police said.

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