Prue Seeks Appeal

allenprueVERMONT- Allen Prue, the man convicted of murdering St. Johnsbury Academy teacher Melissa Jenkins four years ago, is fighting for his appeal. Two years ago, Prue was sentenced to life in prison for his part in the murder of Jenkins. He recently has filed for an appeal with the Supreme Court in an attempt to overturn his conviction.

Lisa Warren, the Caledonia County State Attorney, has followed the case for nearly four years. She explains why Prue is able to appeal his sentence.

“It’s an automatic right to an appeal on a life sentence, so it’s an automatic right he has by virtue of the Vermont rules of Criminal Procedure,” Warren says.

In late 2014, Allen Prue was found guilty to the kidnapping and murder of Melissa Jenkins. Shortly into 2015, his wife Patricia Prue was sentenced to life in prison for the same charges. Before his sentencing, Allen Prue appealed to the Vermont Supreme Court, saying it was not fair that Judge Robert Bent did not allow testimony from a psychologist about an examination of his wife.

Prue’s assigned public defender presented an appeal last January. They argue that Prue’s confession was involuntary, the error in not supressing the confession was not harmless, and the court was wrong by not allowing a psychiatric diagnosis of his wife. Futhermore, his defender argues Prue did not knowingly or voluntarily waive his Miranda Rights, and assuming that the waiver was valid, was not given new Miranda Warnings immediately after his "swearing ceremony".

“The prime argument that they’ve asserted is that the Caledonia Superior Court aired when it did not suppress Mr. Prue’s statement,” Warren explains.

Warren, however, is preparing for a response to that argument.

“Our counter to that will be the court was correct in it’s decision and we’ll state why factually and legally why the court was correct and ask the Vermont Supreme Court to uphold that decision," Warren says.

“In the State’s opinion, it’s very important to keep him behind bars and the state is presently working it’s response to the appeal,” Warren says.

An appeal hearing has not been scheduled, and it is currently unclear when it will be resolved.

Prue, who is now 32, does not have the possibility for parole.

33-year-old Melissa Jenkins was a beloved member of the St. Johnsbury community. Tammi Cady, a former co-worker and friend of Jenkins, remembers her for her bright attitude at St. Johnsbury Academy.

"I don't remember Melissa not having a smile on her face. She was always very kind and happy," Cady says.

In memory of Jenkins, the Academy founded the Melissa Jenkins Scholarship Fund, which goes out to a senior who plans to further their education, and best shows what she stood for. Over the first three years, it has reached a total of over $50,000.

Those who knew Jenkins continue to remember her for the words that she lived by every day.

"Love those who need it most." - Jenkins' mantra

 

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