Trial begins for man accused of hiring hitman to kill pregnant wife

WEST PALM BEACH — Dametri Dale described the first moments that Euri Jenkins purportedly suggested the murder-for-hire plot to kill his pregnant wife, Makeva Jenkins. 

Dale was visiting Jenkins’ home, when Jenkins pulled him aside and asked what would happen if he wanted to have someone killed, Dale testified in court in Thursday. 

When Dale asked who he wanted to kill, Jenkins said he wanted to kill his wife, Dale said.

Dale’s testimony came on the first day of the murder trial for Euri Jenkins, who is accused of hiring a gunman to kill his wife in the couple’s Lantana-area home on the morning of June 29, 2017. 

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office investigators said Makeva Jenkins was killed when a masked gunman entered the home and shot her in the head.  Authorities have suggestedJenkins wanted his wife dead in order to collect on her life insurance policy, although he later discovered that he was not listed as a beneficiary on her policy. 

Euri Jenkins, right, talks with his attorney Gregg Lerman during a recess at his trial in the Palm Beach County Courthouse in downtown West Palm Beach, Fla., on Thursday, April 28, 2022. Jenkins was indicted in 2017 on a first-degree murder charge in the death of his wife Makeva Jenkins.

According to law enforcement records, she told her husband in the days before her murder that she wanted a divorce. From the witness stand, Dale testified to Euri Jenkins’ eagerness to kill Makeva. 

“He said, ‘Man listen, this has got to happen right now, today. This is the perfect opportunity for it to happen right now,” Dale recalled.

Makeva Jenkins

Dale was one of three men charged in Makeva Jenkins’ murder, with authorities alleging that he arranged a meeting between her husband and the man accused of pulling the trigger, Joevan Joseph.

Both Dale and Joseph negotiated plea deals in exchange for their testimony against Jenkins. Joseph pleaded guilty to second-degree murder with his sentencing to be deferred until after he testifies at Jenkins’ trial. According to his plea, Joseph will receive a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 20 years for his role in the homicide.

Dale told investigators he introduced Joseph and Jenkins, but did not participate in the murder plot. In November, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter with a weapon and was placed on 15 years probation. Dale turned himself in this month after authorities alleged he violated the terms of his probation. 

Duringcross examination, defense attorney Gregg Lerman questioned Dale’s credibility, describing his past statements to investigators as inconsistent and untruthful. 

“It’s your testimony today that at various times you lied,” Lerman asked Dale.

“I lied about certain things,” Dale replied. 

Under questioning from Assistant State Attorney Adrienne Ellis, Dale testified that he lied in his initial statements to investigators  at the direction ofJenkins. Dale said Jenkins instructed him to say that the act was committed by an unknown masked gunman.

“Euri told me what to say, what not to say,” Dale said.  

jwhigham@pbpost.com

@JuliusWhigham

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