South St. Paul man found guilty in 1991 murder case

Donald Jenkins Jr. Photo: Hennepin County Sheriff's Office. Donald Jenkins Jr.

Kyle Brown
Updated: December 03, 2020 12:00 PM
Created: December 03, 2020 11:53 AM

A South St. Paul man has been found guilty in the 1991 stabbing death of 20-year-old Belinda Thompson.

In a stipulated facts and evidence trial, 58-year-old Donald Jenkins Jr. was found guilty on Wednesday of one count of intentional second-degree murder, the Hennepin County Attorney's Office said in a news release. Jenkins was charged nearly two years ago after the Minneapolis Police Department and the FBI reopened the case.

According to a news release from the Minneapolis Police Department, Thompson was found in the bedroom of her south Minneapolis apartment on Dec. 19, 1991. 

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DNA testing conducted on a bloody washcloth at the scene of the crime implicated Jenkins in the homicide, the release stated. An analysis concluded that 99% of the world's population could be excluded from the DNA sample on the washcloth but Jenkins could not.

Jenkins had been interviewed about the homicide in 1992, 2010 and 2018. In the final interview, he admitted to killing the victim.

According to a criminal complaint, on Dec. 18, 2018, Jenkins told investigators, "My DNA is there, I did it." He also told them, "She let me in... And, man, I can't even say. I just know I saw a knife, and I grabbed it, and I hit her. And she fell. Then I blacked out.” He was charged two days later.

Jenkins waived his right to a jury trial, opting instead for a bench trial. The stipulated facts and evidence trial was submitted to the court on Nov. 6 and closing arguments occurred on Nov. 24. Judge Hilary Caligiuri found Jenkins guilty eight days later.

The sentencing for Jenkins is scheduled for the morning of Dec. 14.

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