RAINBOW CITY, AL (WBRC) - In a dramatic turn of events, criminal charges have been d ropped against a former Rainbow City police captain, and his estranged wife has been arrested.
Melissa Anne Jenkins, 42, is now charged with perjury and with falsely reporting an incident. She was handcuffed and taken to the Etowah County Detention Center, moments after a hearing on a motion to d rop the charges against Chase Jenkins.
Chase Jenkins was arrested for sodomy on January 30, in a charge brought by the county's sheriff's office and District Attorney Jody Willoughby.
At the time of his arrest, Jenkins was also the deputy chief and investigations commander of the Rainbow City Police Department. He eventually resigned his job two days later.
A news release from Chase Jenkins' attorney, James Shelnutt of Gadsden, says his client's changing fortunes followed a hearing before Etowah County District Judge Will Clay, on a defense motion to dismiss charges against him. Shelnutt says Jenkins' accuser was cross examined by him and by Willoughby, and both sides submitted what he called "documentary evidence." That hearing ended in the charges being d ropped and the arrest of Melissa Jenkins.
Previous comments from Shelnutt indicated some type of video was involved in the allegations. Shelnutt said at the time that video actually proved his client's innocence.
"I have been innocent of these charges from day number one and I'm glad it's over. It's hard to describe the feelings of loneliness and despair that you have when you are facing felony charges on a crime you didn't commit," said Chase Jenkins, in a statement released by his attorney. Jenkins went on to say his prayers, and those of his attorney, were answered.
"The hardest part, now, is rebuilding my life, which has always centered around my family and my career. During this process I've lost both of these things but I intend on doing everything I can to get them back," Jenkins added. "I fully intend on returning to law enforcement and I plan on taking this terrible situation and using it to make me a better and more understanding police officer. I know, for sure, that it will cause me to take those extra steps to make sure I'm not putting an innocent person in jail. I wouldn't want anyone to go through what I've gone through."
"Our system of justice is not always perfect but, today, the justice system got it right," Shelnutt said in the same statement. Shelnutt expressed gratitude in particular for Willoughby, saying the D.A. "showed some true integrity and backbone in some of the decisions that he made today."
Chase Jenkins' former job at the Rainbow City Police Department has since been filled by former Glencoe Police Chief Jonathan Horton.
Late this afternoon, bond had not been set for Melissa Jenkins.