Convicted killer’s release affects freshman Raven Pugh

He was out.

Nearly 15 years after being convicted for the murder of Roscoe Pugh Jr., Joseph Jenkins managed to walk out of the Franklin Correctional Facility in the Panhandle. And all it took were forged documents ordering a reduced sentence.

A story that got national attention hit home for freshman Raven Pugh, the daughter of Jenkins’ murder victim. Now, she and her family worried Jenkins would sit and wait outside their home for the perfect opportunity to attack–just as he had with her father.

“I know if I hadn’t seen [news of his release] on the news, I probably wouldn’t have been warned about the fact that he was free,” Pugh said. “I was scared. I didn’t cry or anything. I’m not emotional. [Jenkins] has never met me, but I assumed because we’ve lived all around Orlando that someone might tell him where I go to school.”

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Jenkins was released Sept. 27, nearly three weeks before authorities discovered the paperwork behind the his release was fake.
On Sept. 15, 1998, Jenkins hid outside the Pugh’s house and waited for Roscoe Pugh Jr. to come home. Once he got inside, Jenkins knocked on the family’s door. Pugh’s grandmother answered and was pushed to the ground.

Then he started shooting.

“So many people wanted to kill my dad because he had money, had a good job, and he had good stuff going for him,” Pugh said. “[Jenkins] couldn’t have any of that so he got mad. My brothers were there…and he killed him right in front of my brother Roscoe the |||. My sisters were at my godparents’ house.”

When Pugh was 9, her mother finally confessed to her the reason her father was not around. She told her the story of how he died and the man that killed him. She said that he always got her siblings anything they wanted and he wasn’t even the biological father to one of her sisters, but he was still always there for her. He loved her as his own.

“When you’re a baby, you don’t understand what parents talk about,” Pugh said. “I thought that I was already born when it happened, but I wasn’t even born yet so he never got to even know me. I got upset because one of my sisters, that’s not even her real dad and she got to meet him. It used to [bother me] when I was little, but it [not having a father] doesn’t bother me anymore. Because I really didn’t know what was going on and I didn’t know what it meant, or why it happened, but now I understand, so it just don’t bother me anymore.”

Pugh said her family has handled the upheaval surrounding Jenkins’s release well.
“[My brothers and sisters] handled it like I’m handling it: It’s just normal,” she said. “We’re just happy. We can’t bring him back. If we keep stressing and crying and worrying about it, he’s not going to come back, so we just stopped worrying about it.”

Jenkins and fellow prisoner Charles Walker, who was also mistakenly released, have since been caught and returned to prison. The FDLE has launched an investigation into how the two men could have been released.

The mistakes in Florida’s judicial system that led to Jenkins’s release has Pugh’s family questioning whether they should put their trust in the court’s hands again.

“They said on the news that they escaped but they didn’t escape,” Pugh said. “[The court] let them go. When you’re working in the court, the judge should always go over the work before they just let people go.”