A Howland man will be held at the Penobscot County Jail without bail for violating conditions of his release after he was allegedly “present” at the death of his 3-year-old son over the weekend.

Justin Jenkins, 38, was arrested on three charges of violating conditions of release but has not been charged with anything related to the boy’s death. Maine State Police were notified Saturday of the child’s death.

Maine State Police’s Major Crimes Unit is called to investigate the death of any Maine child under the age of 3, according to Shannon Moss, public information officer for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Jenkins made his first appearance in court before Penobscot County Superior Court Justice Ann Murray via Zoom from the Penobscot County Jail Monday. Murray approved the state’s motion to remove Jenkins’ pre-conviction bail that stemmed from a domestic violence assault charge and to keep the man in jail without bail.

“I have carefully considered this matter and I’ve taken some additional time to think about what I was going to do,” Justice Murray said. “I’m setting no bail on the motion given all the facts, circumstances, the history of the defendant and the nature of the conduct underlying the motion.”

Assistant District Attorney Mercedes Gurney said in court Monday that Jenkins had a no-contact order with a Howland woman — the mother of the deceased boy — and that he violated that order when he was present during the child’s death.

The mother brought her unresponsive child to the Penobscot Valley Hospital in Lincoln, where the 3-year-old was pronounced dead, Gurney said. During interviews after the child’s death, the woman allegedly told investigators Jenkins was present.

Jenkins and the woman have three children together, including the boy who died, according to court records.

Jenkins has a history of domestic violence with the woman including a prior conviction in 2019 in which he served 25 days in prison, Gurney said.

Last month, a Penobscot County grand jury indicted Jenkins on a domestic assault charge stemming from an Aug. 2 incident in which he allegedly hit the woman in the face multiple times, leaving a bruise, according to court documents.

He was convicted on domestic violence assault charges in 2019 and 2011.

Defense attorney of the day Zachary Smith emphasized during the proceeding that Jenkins has not yet been charged with anything relating to the child’s death.

Jenkins did not enter a plea on the three charges as all three are felony charges.

The child’s death is still under investigation, Gurney said.


Sawyer Loftus

Sawyer Loftus is a reporter covering Old Town, Orono and the surrounding areas. A recent graduate of the University of Vermont, Sawyer grew up in Vermont where he's worked for Vermont Public Radio, The...