Idaho v. Jenkins & Ehrlick |
The murder that shook Idaho |
AJS 502: Survey of Justice and SecurityDeana Bohenek |
Melissa Jenkins and Daniel Ehrlick were on trial for murdering 8 year old Robert Manwill by brute physical abuse and then hiding the murder by reporting Robert as a missing person. |
Of the hundreds of thousands of criminal court cases that have passed through the American court system, only a small percentage of those cases have made lasting impressions on the nation and set precedent for future generations. In Idaho, one such case was that of the horrific murder caused by child abuse from a young boy’s mother and her boyfriend. Robert Manwill was only eight years old and visiting with his mother, Melissa Jenkins and boyfriend Daniel Erhlick, for a few weeks over the summer.
Melissa Jenkins had previously had multiple issues with the Department of Health and Welfare for child abuse against her son in the past and was not to be left alone with Robert, thus she was required for Daniel to be present and living with her in order for her to be able to have unsupervised visitation (Orr, 2010). Robert’s biological father, whom he lived with, was in Oregon and unaware of the new problems that were emerging the summer his son died. Jenkins originally told law enforcement that Robert had gone to a local birthday party and never came home. For days the community banded together searching for Robert, hoping that he was still alive. A week later, after more than 2,300 people had helped in the search, Robert’s body was found in the New York Canal which lies between the cities of Boise and Kuna (Orr, 2010).
The trial was long and heart wrenching for not only the family of Robert, but for the entire community that had lived near him and helped search for him. The evidence was staggering as law enforcement found evidence of physical abuse that had only escalated in the weeks preceding his...