Hattiesburg man's murder conviction affirmed by Court of Appeals

Hattiesburg man's murder conviction affirmed by Court of Appeals

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - On Tuesday the Mississippi Court of Appeals of the State of Mississippi affirmed a life sentence for a Hattiesburg man convicted of murder.

Jarius Collins, 32,  was first found guilty of murder in the death of Ebony Jenkins, a Crystal Springs native,  in April 2013.  

That conviction was overturned in August 2015 when The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that the court failed to suppress Collins' statement to police after he invoked his right to counsel. They also ruled further error was made 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 retried in May 2016 and found guilty again.  He was also convicted of a weapons charge in connection to the case.

After Collins 2016 conviction, he was sentenced as a habitual offender to life without parole in the custody of the Mississippi Dept. of Corrections. His appeal was denied in June 2016, and the Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling on Nov. 7, 2017.

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 7thStreet in Hattiesburg.

Forrest County Coroner Butch Benedict said Jenkins' autopsy revealed that she had been shot twice in the back.