Phil Camp Photo
Adam Jenks, 39, of Woodstock has been charged with first-degree aggravated domestic assault with a deadly weapon after a fight near the bottom of Hartland Hill Monday afternoon.
The fight left Airell Jenks, 70, with several large lacerations to his face and the top of his head. The elder Jenks drove himself to the Woodstock Police Department after the incident, and his son arrived at Maplefield’s, where alarmed staff noticed him walking into the store with bloodied hands and acting disoriented.
When questioned, Adam Jenks initially said he couldn’t recall why he had attacked his father. Airell Jenks told police that the attack was completely unprovoked and that his son suffers from mental illness. The younger Jenks is now being taken for an in-patient mental health evaluation.
Officials at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center said that Jenks was not on the list of patients that they are able to comment on.
The following article first appeared in the February 2nd, 2012 edition of the Vermont Standard.
By Eric Francis
WOODSTOCK – A Woodstock man with a history of schizophrenia has been charged with beating and repeatedly slicing his father in the head with a military-style combat knife Monday afternoon in what police said appeared to have been a completely unprovoked attack.
“Pretty much the long and the short of it is he just snapped,” Woodstock Police Chief Robbie Blish said of Adam Jenks, 39, who was arrested at Maplefields just minutes after the assault took place outside Jenks’ residence nearby. “He never had any previous history of this (kind of violence) from what we understand,” Blish noted.
Airell Jenks, 70, a long-time Woodstock resident and a member of the local Rotary Club was transported Monday afternoon to the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center for treatment of a possible broken arm and what were described as several large, but not life-threatening, lacerations to his face and head.
Chief Blish said that Airell Jenks was able to tell him that his son suffered from mental illness but things had been calm in the minutes leading up to the assault.
“They were waiting for a tow truck to come pick up his son’s car. I don’t know what the deal with the car was,” Blish said, noting that he hadn’t been yet able to re-interview Jenks after he got to the hospital. “There’s not a lot to it. It is what it is, unfortunately,” Blish said, adding, “He sustained some pretty severe lacerations.”
Adam Jenks was arrested and taken to Mount Ascutney Hospital where he was treated for a laceration to the palm of his right hand before spending the night at the Springfield jail. On Tuesday afternoon, a defense attorney entered a pro forma innocent plea on behalf of Adam Jenks to a single felony count of first degree aggravated domestic assault with a deadly weapon.
Adam Jenks was held and immediately ordered to undergo an in-patient psychiatric examination to determine his competency to stand trial; although, court officials did not know Tuesday afternoon exactly where and when that will take place since the state hospital in Waterbury is still out of commission as the result of flooding from Tropical Storm Irene.
Woodstock Police received their first call about the incident at 1:20 p.m. Monday from a passerby who reported that two men appeared to be fighting near the bottom of Hartland Hill road by the intersection with Route 4.
Chief Blish had no sooner pulled out of the police station to respond when he was radioed an update that one of the men had just driven away from “the fight” in a black SUV. “Just as this information was dispatched, I observed an SUV matching the description pull into the front parking lot of the emergency services building,” Blish recalled in an affidavit filed with the court.
Making a U-turn back to the building, Blish said he watched as Airell Jenks got out of the SUV “covered in blood and bleeding profusely from the head and face” and headed into the lobby. As Woodstock Ambulance Paramedic Patricia Cassidy arrived to help Jenks, he explained to the chief that his son has attacked him out of the blue while he had been standing in his son’s driveway waiting for the tow truck to arrive.
Told that the last place Adam Jenks had been seen was heading for Maplefields, both Chief Blish and Woodstock Police Sgt. Peter Mantello responded over to the convenience store where they found the “disoriented” Jenks still inside.
Staff and patrons of the store had already been alarmed by the sudden appearance of the younger Jenks who’d run down Hartland Hill screaming, “They tried to kill me!” according to a witness who said people in the store were in the process of helping Jenks clean the blood from his hands and trying to figure out if he was drunk or if something was really going on when police arrived and took him away without further incident.
Chief Blish wrote that when he brought Adam Jenks to the police department for an interview Jenks initially stated that he didn’t remember anything about what had happened but then later said he recalled hitting his father “a lot” with a knife which he described as a “CRKT M16-14” combat knife.
“Suspect Jenks could not remember why he had attacked the victim,” Blish wrote, adding that Sgt. Mantello went to the driveway and was able to find the knife and take pictures of the scene where the assault apparently occurred.
Although police records include a standing warning to officers that Jenks is “Schizophrenic – medicated and independent,” he does not have any criminal convictions on his record and will only stand trial on the current felony charge if a judge determines he is competent and sane.
Chief Blish said that Adam Jenks was “cooperative” once he was taken into custody but could not elaborate on the circumstances that led up to the attack.