A Delaware woman was slapped with a 15-year prison sentence on Monday for the 2016 shooting death of a Delaware State University student, though she maintains she wasn’t the one who pulled the trigger.
Cheryl Jennings tried shifting the blame to her husband for the early morning shooting that killed 19-year-old Malcolm Evans, an aspiring neurosurgeon and junior at DSU, the Delaware News Journal reported. Relatives said the young man was on his way to work at the FedEx facility in New Castle when he was gunned down near the Jennings’ home around 4 a.m. on July 9, 2016.
” … It was Cheryl Jennings’ actions, plural, that led us to where we are today,” Deputy Attorney General Brian Robertson said, though investigators question whether it was Cheryl or her husband who fired the fatal shot.
Jennings told the cops she thought someone was trying to break into her home and called upstairs to her husband, Ralph, after claiming she heard someone jiggling the kitchen door handle and saw a dark figure running from her porch. That’s when her husband grabbed a handgun and headed outside. Jennings wasn’t far behind, despite Ralph’s demands for her to stay inside.
She ran outside, blocking a Black car that was coming down the street. Evans was behind the wheel. According to court documents, Ralph Jennings stated his wife started shouting questions at the young man as she stood in the street, blocking his vehicle.
When he saw the car’s brake lights dim and the engine rev, Jennings said he fired a shot. Evan’s car sped off and crashed into an embankment. The DSU student died days later at the hospital, the newspaper reported.
Despite Ralph Jennings story, prosecutors said they’re certain Cheryl was the one who fired into the car, killing Evans. Lawyers also noted that Jennings, who is white, had consumed cocaine and alcohol before the deadly confrontation.
Judge Andrea Rocanelli ruled that the tragic killing occurred “without any provocation from Malcolm.” The Republic also reported that prosecutors cited phone data showing the Black man couldn’t have been “harassing” the Jennings’ home at the time, as he was running late for work.
At an April hearing, Cheryl, who was charged with first-degree murder, pleaded no contest to manslaughter charges but changed her tune Monday by placing the blame solely on her husband.
“She has maintained her innocence,” attorney Joseph Hurley said at Monday’s hearing. “Ralph said he pulled the trigger.”
After the hearing, the Evans family said they were pleased with the sentence, though they know it wouldn’t bring their loved one back.
” … We still don’t feel justice is fully served because someone out there who is partially responsible is still walking the streets,” Kevin Evans, Malcolm’s father, told the newspaper.
For now, Ralph Jennings hasn’t been charged in connection to the killing.