A southeast Missouri judge has denied a legal effort from a man convicted of killing five people at a St. Louis supermarket almost 32 years ago.
Washington County Judge Troy Hyde has denied a petition for a writ of habeas corpus involving Marvin Jennings, who is serving a life sentence without parole for the high-profile 1987 killings at a National supermarket in north St. Louis.
Prosecutors say Jennings and an accomplice, Donnie Blankenship, shot the five supermarket employees to death on September 4, 1987. Two others were injured and survived, and some employees escaped injury by hiding on the roof.
Jennings says he’s innocent. Habeas corpus is an effort to determine whether a prison sentence is lawful.
“Jennings’ allegations in this petition are essentially attacks on evidentiary rulings by the trial court that have already been litigated in the ordinary course of review. He (Jennings) presents nothing new here,” Judge Hyde writes, in part.
Jennings has sought several state habeas actions in the past, and has also alleged prosecutorial misconduct.
“My most important duty as Attorney General is to protect all six million Missourians,” Attorney General Eric Schmitt says in a statement. “That entails prosecuting our state’s most violent offenders, but also ensuring that those offenders who were convicted, like Marvin Jennings, serve their sentence. Assistant Attorneys General in my office undertake important habeas corpus work, often behind the scenes and without recognition – they achieved a great result in this case.”
Jennings was convicted of five counts of first degree murder and eight counts of armed criminal action, along with several other felonies. He’s currently incarcerated at the maximum-security Potosi Correctional Center in Mineral Point.
Judge Hyde heard the case, because Potosi is located in Washington County.
Blankenship is incarcerated in Charleston.
Prosecutors say the five supermarket employees who were killed were Rose Brown, Michael Marr, Kenneth Bass, Michael Bean and David Spahn.
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