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Hearing postponed for man accused of killing fellow Eastern Regional Jail inmate

Dewarren Bruce Jenkins is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Melvin Cox

August 07, 2012

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A court hearing for a man charged with second-degree murder in the July 2011 death of a fellow Eastern Regional Jail inmate was postponed Tuesday to allow the state time to subpoena witnesses for the case. 

Dewarren Bruce Jenkins, 25, of Oklahoma City, Okla., agreed to the state’s motion for a continuance of his scheduled preliminary probable-cause hearing in exchange for a lower bond. Jenkins is charged in the death of Melvin Cox, 53, of Bunker Hill, W.Va.

Jenkins’ bond was reduced from $50,000 cash-only to $25,000 cash or surety.

Berkeley County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Saunders told Berkeley County Magistrate Joan V. Bragg in Tuesday’s hearing that she only recently received the investigating police officer’s report for the case and that the report identified jail inmates who could be subpoenaed for the case.

Jenkins was arrested May 24 in Oklahoma, police have said.

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

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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 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.

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

— Matthew Umstead

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