District Attorney Mike O’Dell has announced that Christopher Todd Landers, age 36, from Collinsville, Alabama entered a plea of guilty to Murder in the shooting death of Michael Jenkins on January 29, 2014 on County Road 77 in Collinsville. The plea was taken before Circuit Judge Randall L. Cole who sentenced Landers to 25 years in the State Penitentiary. He was also ordered to pay an Attorney Fee Reimbursement of $4000 and court costs of $527.50. In addition, Landers was ordered to have no contact with the victim’s family.
According to investigative records Landers lured his landlord, Michael Jenkins, to his trailer in the early morning hours of January 29, 2014 under the pretense of having him (Jenkins) do repairs on his stove and toilet. As Mr. Jenkins was down on the floor attempting to make the repairs, Landers shot him one time in the back with a Mossburg 12-gauge shotgun.Jenkins died at the scene of that shotgun blast.
“This was a tragic and senseless execution of an unarmed, defenseless victim,” District Attorney O’Dell said. “The motive for this horrendous act remains unclear, but the result is the loss of a human life that did not deserve to die. From all accounts, Mr. Jenkins was a kind and compassionate man in his dealings with all his tenants, working with them if they got behind in their rent or had need of repairs. The best we can figure is that Landers was a very difficult tenant who was often behind on his rent, and was the subject of numerous complaints by other residents of the trailer park. Because of this, Mr. Jenkins had begun the necessary steps to evict Landers. Clearly, this angered Landers greatly.”
O’Dell points out another possible reason for so terrible an act being committed—drugs.
“Landers had a history of family violence directed against his wife and son over several years,” O’Dell said. “In addition, Landers was a serious drug abuser.” Arrest records indicated that, at the time of his arrest, he was drug tested and those tests came back positive for amphetamine, benzodiazepine, marijuana, and opiates. “Once again, we see the devastating results of drug addiction in the actions of drug abusers. This is one of the very reasons why my office has been so aggressive in fighting the scourge of drugs in our community.”
Witness statements indicate that just before Landers fired the fatal shot, he made eye contact with his teenage son who begged his father not to shoot Mr. Jenkins. That act of pleading for Jenkins’ life was significant in the prosecution’s case. “Not only did Landers commit a violent act of murder, he did so in the presence of his wife and son who he ordered to lie for him when the police arrived,” O’Dell pointed out. Both were scheduled to testify against Landers at his jury trial scheduled to commence on Monday.
“My heart goes out to the family of Michael Jenkins. This was a tragic loss to them and the community where he lived. Our hope is that this plea and sentence will give them some measure of closure, and the ability to move on now that justice has been served and Landers has been held accountable for the death of Michael Jenkins.”
“I want to thank the sheriff department investigators for their hard work on this case. I also wish to express my gratitude to Mark Hopwood and his team from the Jacksonville Forensic Team for their assistance, Fire Marshall Ray Cumby, my full-time investigators Gary Williams and Josh Summerford, and my part-time investigator Wade Hill who is certainly one the best hires I have ever made. Finally, I wish to thank Deputy District Bob Johnston for his outstanding excellence and professionalism in assisting in the preparation of this case for trial. We all make a great team, of which I am extremely proud to be a part.”