Published: Friday, December 22, 2006
Son of homicide victim found evidence, police say
The slain woman was discovered during a fire at her apartment.
AUSTINTOWN A homicide victim's son found evidence last week in a trash bin behind the suspect's apartment building, and that led to a significant break in the murder case, the township police chief confirmed.
But Chief Bob Gavalier defended his officers against people who, he said, criticized the department on a local radio show this week for not finding that evidence first.
The evidence, a gun and a hooded sweat shirt in a plastic bag that Joshua Kellar, 25, found behind suspect Gregg Jenkins' Compass West apartment building, could have been thrown there after officers searched the trash bin the day of Robin Kellar's death Friday, he said.
He said police believe the items belong to Jenkins.
"Our road units looked in Dumpsters that day ... [the death] happened," Gavalier said.
He said Joshua Kellar came in the next day to ask if he and others could look in the trash bin again. "The family did find the evidence," he said.
Jenkins, 31, was arraigned in Robin Kellar's death Monday at Mahoning County Court in Austintown. His case was bound over Wednesday to a Mahoning County grand jury. The county courts do not try felony cases.
Jenkins was in the Mahoning County Jail on a $1 million cash bond.
Robin Kellar, 45, was found dead in a back bedroom at her apartment during a fire there.
The fire was confined to the master bedroom at the front of her apartment. Gavalier had said Monday that she had injuries that weren't consistent with the fire.
There was blood on her face and head, the police report says.
Gavalier said Thursday that even though a gun was recovered, she had not been shot. He confirmed that she had been beaten and that police suspect the gun was used in the beating.
Jenkins knew Kellar, telling police as they investigated the death that she was like a mother to him and would even give him money, their report says.
Gavalier said Jenkins was also acquainted with Joshua Kellar.
Jenkins lives in the building next to Robin Kellar's, Gavalier said. The report indicated he lives with his girlfriend and their child. He referred to himself as "a stay-at-home mom," the report says, and he also told police he is a carnival worker. During his arraignment, he told the court he is a construction worker.
Jenkins has not been charged with starting the fire at the apartment. The state fire marshal's office said Thursday that the cause is still under investigation, and lab results are not expected for at least three weeks.