Euri Jenkins cried in court when his lawyer told him that his murder trial -- he’s accused of hiring a hit man to kill his pregnant wife -- will be postponed for three months over a juror shortage.
Defense attorney Gregg Lerman grabbed tissues for Jenkins to dry his eyes Wednesday after requesting the delay. Prosecutors agreed the likelihood of picking a jury this week was unrealistic.
Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Kirk Volker reset the trial to begin April 13, after the jury pool this week dwindled to inadequate numbers.
They started jury selection Tuesday with 90 potential jurors, but more than half were let go by the next day due to hardships over serving and other factors. Replacing them with a new group of potential jurors at the last minute wasn’t an option.
Twelve jurors plus two alternates are needed for the first-degree murder case focusing on the June 29, 2017, slaying of Makeva Jenkins, 34.
Prosecutors say Euri Jenkins, 33, provided $1,500 and a gun to shooter Joevan Joseph, who wore a mask when he fired a bullet into the victim’s head, inside her home west of Lantana. She was a mother of three children.
Joseph has pleaded guilty to a second-degree murder charge and will testify as the star witness for the prosecution. Joseph, 22, faces sentence of at least five years and up to 20 years in prison, based on his cooperation.
Investigators said Jenkins appeared to be motivated by greed, as he inquired about his wife’s $500,000 life insurance policy after she died. He was not the beneficiary, court records show.
In statements to detectives, Jenkins called Joseph a drug dealer and a thief who killed his spouse for money.
Lerman said his client loved his wife and hopes for a reunion with his children after the jury acquits him.
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