CAMDEN, NJ — Two men charged in connection with the kidnapping and murder of Curtis Jenkins III, grandson of the Camden City Council President, were ordered held until trial at detention hearings Thursday.
Family and friends of Jenkins filled the courtroom before Superior Court Judge Edward McBride.
Brandon Beverly, 32, of Westville, who appeared first in court, was charged on July 3 with first-degree murder in Jenkins' death. Police arrested Beverly on kidnapping and aggravated assault one day earlier. The charges were upgraded after authorities discovered Jenkins in an abandoned garage on the 1100 block of Liberty Street.
Details of how Jenkins was found on July 2 were shared in court: wrapped in a sheet with a plastic bag over his head. The medical examiner's office ruled the death as a homicide by asphyxiation.
Authorities said Beverly and accomplices abducted Jenkins, 20, during a food delivery in the Fairview neighborhood on June 30.
The kidnappers made ransom calls to Jenkins' father in the early morning of July 1, police said, and texted a photo of him tied up and blindfolded.
Police said the phone that was used had been stolen hours earlier during a home-invasion robbery on the 200 block of Kaighn Avenue. The incident involved the second suspect, Jalen Carr, 22, of Sicklerville. Carr was arrested on July 5 and charged with armed robbery and weapons offenses.
During the first hearing on Thursday, Assistant Camden County Prosecutor Kevin Moran referred to Beverly as “the mastermind behind these crimes.”
Moran asked that Beverly be remanded in custody, arguing that he was a flight risk due to a record of convictions on felony charges.
The next hearing, which followed that morning, saw Carr ordered to be held until trial for his role in the Kaighn Avenue robbery.
Outside the county courthouse, Camden City Council President Curtis Jenkins Sr. told reporters he was there to see justice through for his grandson. Jenkins said his grandson, who was slain just days away prior to his 21st birthday, was a “great role model” for his younger siblings.
“I’ll be here at every hearing, at every court appearance. I will be here. Until the end,” he said. “I’m gonna let the system work and hopefully at the end of the day, justice will prevail.”
Funeral services for Jenkins III are scheduled for Saturday at New Life Ministries.