Published 2:41 pm Wednesday, May 28, 2014
By Adam Prestridge
By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal
Sentences were handed down in a rape case and a home invasion case in Lowndes County Circuit Court on Wednesday, May 28. And according to defense attorneys, both cases will be appealed.
Lowndes County Circuit Court Judge Terri Bozeman Lovell sentenced Dennis Lee Tucker, 29, of Tyler, to 20 years in a state penitentiary plus court costs and other fees for rape in the second degree.
A jury found Tucker not guilty of rape in the first degree, but guilty of rape in the second degree on April 9. The alleged rape occurred in 2011 when the alleged victim was 12-years-old, according to information presented in court.
Following the verdict, defense attorney Mickey McDermott said, “We are glad the jury found that there was not forcible rape in finding him (Tucker) not guilty of rape in the first degree.” He also said, “We believe that the rape in the second degree will be reversed on appeal.”
Following Lovell’s sentence on May 28, McDermott gave notice of appeal and noted that Tucker stood on his claim of not guilty.
Butler County Circuit Court Judge J. MacDonald Russell Jr. sentenced Dionea Jenkins, 28, of Fort Deposit to 45 years in a state penitentiary, less time served, plus restitution, court costs and other fees for burglary and robbery, both in the first degree, in connection with a home invasion case.
Russell handed down the sentenced on May 28, and defense attorney William Clay Teague gave notice of appeal.
Lovell did not hear this case due to a conflict.
According to Lowndes County District Attorney Charlotte M. Tesmer, Jenkins allegedly threw a flower pot through French doors at a residence on Alabama Highway 21 and went in on a couple, who both identified him in court.
She said a male victim in this case managed to get to his gun, but Jenkins allegedly took it away from him and robbed the couple of cash, credit cards and the gun.
Following the sentences on May 28, Tesmer confirmed that both the guilty verdicts and the sentences handed down in both cases would be appealed.
She said with regard to Tucker, “We are pleased that he got the maximum sentence in that case… And we’re pleased that he will be behind bars for quite some time.”
She said with regard to Jenkins that Lowndes County has had an outbreak of home invasions and that “hopefully” the sentence will “send a message to these folks that are committing these crimes that it won’t be tolerated in Lowndes County. “
Tesmer said, “Yes, we asked for life, but I’m pleased with the judge’s sentence of 45 years.” She confirmed that Jenkins was sentenced to 45 years on both charges, but they will both run at the same time.
Appeal bonds were denied in both the Tucker and Jenkins cases.