New trial date set in overturned murder conviction case

New trial date set in overturned murder conviction case
Jarius Collins
Jarius Collins in court.
Jarius Collins in court.

FORREST COUNTY (WDAM) - Jarius Collins, the man who had his murder conviction overturned in August for the murder of Ebony Jenkins, appeared in court Thursday morning.

Collins had a pair of new trial dates set.

Collins is set to appear Feb. 23 for a possession of weapons charge and May 9 for his murder charge.

Overturned conviction:

A 2013 murder conviction of a Hattiesburg man has been overturned by the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Collins, 30, was convicted in March 2013 for the murder of Jenkins, a Crystal Springs native. It took a jury less than 30 minutes to convict Collins, and he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that the court failed to suppress Collins' statement to police after he invoked his right to counsel, as well as a further error by allowing Hattiesburg Police Detective Casey Sims to testify as a lay witness regarding cell phone location technology, when such opinion requires the witness be qualified as an expert.

Collins was an “acquaintance” of Jenkins, and when she failed to show up for work, family member’s contacted police. Jenkins was found dead Dec. 9, 2011, in a wooded area off West 7th Street in Hattiesburg. Forrest County Coroner Butch Benedict said Jenkins’ autopsy revealed that she had been shot twice in the back.

During the trial, the state proved that the murder was premeditated and that Collins had planned it for some time. However, the motive was not known.

He was sentenced as a habitual offender because he also is a registered sex offender and previously served time for sexual battery on a minor in 2004.

Collins has been housed by the Mississippi Department of Corrections and will be transported back to the Forrest County Jail when transfer papers are completed.

Collins will remain in custody and appear before a Forrest County judge where it will then be determined what will happen next in regards to the court system.