Suspect in deaths of five children moved from other inmates in jail

By Calvin Palmer

The man accused of intoxication in the deaths of five children on Saturday when his vehicle plunged into a rain-filled drainage ditch has been placed away from other inmates in the county jail.

Chanton Jenkins, 32, of Houston, is charged with five counts of intoxication manslaughter in connection with an accident on Saturday. Three of the youngsters killed were his children.

He had been held with the general population in Harris County Jail since his arrest but was moved yesterday afternoon into administrative segregation for his own protection, said Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Gilliland.

“They moved him for his own safety,” Gilliland said.

Jailers may have placed Jenkins in administrative segregation because he was emotionally distraught about circumstances of his case or to make sure he was safe from other inmates who may possibly be disgruntled about the allegations against him.

Gilliland could not comment on whether Jenkins was on suicide watch.

Under administrative segregation, jailers visually check on prisoners every 15 minutes and they are allowed outside of their cells for 30 minutes twice a day.

Jenkins faces up to 100 years in prison if he is convicted of all five charges. He is accused of driving drunk and talking on a cell phone when he lost control of a car that plunged into a drainage ditch during Saturday’s heavy storms.

Jenkins and his brother escaped from the Lincoln Town Car, His 10-year-old daughter, Jada Barnes, also survived. But three of his children died — Devin Deshawn Jenkins, 4; Hallie Briann Jenkins, 4; and one-year-old Karrinton Korneh Jenkins.

The two other children killed — Dreton Travon Thompson, 11; and Malik Barlow, 7 – belong to Tracy Easley who is Jenkins’ girlfriend.

Child Protection Services took Jada Barnes and two of her siblings into protective custody yesterday after they learned their biological mother tested positive for barbiturates, said CPS spokeswoman Estella Olguin.

Caseworkers had been searching for Jada since Sunday morning, after the girl was released to her mother’s care from Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital, Olguin said.

The children will likely be placed in foster care because there are no appropriate and available relatives able to care for them, Olguin said.

Jada had been living with her father for about a month before Saturday’s accident.

[Based on a report by the Houston Chronicle.]

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