SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania man accused of cutting the brake lines in his girlfriend’s car in an effort to get a piece of pipe to use for smoking crack has been ordered to stand trial on criminal homicide charges after she died in an ensuing car crash.
Defense attorneys argued Friday that John Jenkins, 40, should face a lesser charge in the Aug. 22 death of 38-year-old Tammy Fox, The (Scranton) Times-Tribune reported.
Attorney Jody Kalinowski argued in Lackawanna County that the Dunmore man should face “manslaughter at best” since “There’s not one shred of evidence that this was an intentional killing.”
Assistant District Attorney Brian Gallagher, however, said intent to kill is in the case’s “facts and circumstances.”
Authorities said Jenkins told police that the night before the crash, Fox was looking for a pipe to smoke crack but he didn’t want to go to a store to buy one, so he went underneath the woman’s vehicle and was “hacking away” to try and get something she could use.
State police and prosecutors said Fox’s car, at times going nearly 60 mph (95 kph), drove through 14 intersections. Investigators said Fox tried four times to stop the car — including pumping the brakes, lifting up the emergency brake and shutting off the vehicle — before it jumped a curb and struck a tree and parked cars. She was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Investigators said three of the four brake lines were cut and one was crimped.
Investigators revealed Friday that a piece of brake line was found in Jenkins’ cupboard.
The paper reported that Fox was a key witness against several former county prison guards accused of sexually abusing inmates. Jenkins, authorities allege in court documents, said it couldn’t have been anyone else who cut the lines.