Man sentenced to 30 years for robberies

Published 12:35 am Friday, March 31, 2017

NATCHEZ — A Natchez man convicted Wednesday of two counts armed robbery for a November 2015 incident was sentenced Thursday to serve 30 years in prison.

A jury convicted Rovontae Jenkins, 23, Wednesday of robbing two Natchez men within hours of each other at gunpoint.

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Circuit Court Judge Forrest “Al” Johnson postponed sentencing immediately after the trial to allow a review of Jenkins’ youth court record. Johnson said Thursday after reviewing the records that Jenkins has had numerous encounters with law enforcement since he was a teenager.

Johnson said Jenkins has had opportunities at rehabilitation and Jenkins’ crimes have only escalated.

Johnson said he believed Jenkins was a danger to society and sentenced him to 30 years with the Mississippi Department of Corrections for each count to run concurrent.

“You have shown no indication of wanting to be rehabilitated, you have just shown an escalating desire to commit crimes,” Johnson said. “At some point, enough is enough.”

Johnson said he also had to look at the general deterrence factor for someone else considering armed robbery.

“Anytime you put someone in fear of losing their life over money, that is a very serious matter,” Johnson said. “Armed robbery is one of the most serious crimes there is because someone could get killed.”

Jenkins’ grandmother Lillian Ross spoke on behalf of the family. Ross said she hoped the court would help Jenkins and also had a message to her grandson.

“He has a drug problem,” she said. “I just wish there was some kind of way we as a family could plead for mercy on the court to help us get treatment for what he needs.

“I wish he would open his mind up to admit, ‘I need help.’ If you ask in God’s eyesight, he will sustain you.”

Jenkins could potentially become eligible for early release after serving 15 years of his sentence.

Jenkins robbed the first victim on Nov. 17. After knocking on a man’s St. Catherine Street door several times and attempting to buy or sell drugs but having the victim shut the door saying he does not mess with drugs, Jenkins and an alleged female accomplice got the man to open the door a fourth time.

When the victim opened the door, Jenkins reached around the female, Jessica Ellis, and attempted to rob the man. However, the man slammed the door on Jenkins hand as the gun went off, which put a bullet hole in the ceiling.

During the early morning hours of Nov. 18, 2015, Ellis allegedly called a high school friend and asked for a ride home for she and her cousin, Jenkins. The victim agreed to give the two a ride.

While in the vehicle, Jenkins pulled a gun on both the victim and Ellis and demanded Ellis take the victim’s belongings, including a cell phone, a watch, his wallet and a .38-calibur gun, which was on the floor of the car.

A trial date for Ellis has not been set.