Jury finds pastor guilty of arson, but not attempted murder

A Stafford County Circuit Court jury on Tuesday found Carl E. Jenkins guilty of arson but not guilty of three counts of attempted capital murder.

The minister and founder of Dale City Christian Church Cathedral of Praise could receive between five years to life in prison.

Jenkins was charged with setting the Stafford home of his church secretary on fire while she and her two sons slept. The fire on March 2 did minimal damage and no one was injured.

The jury was unable to reach a sentencing agreement by 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and requested that they be excused for the day. Judge James W. Haley Jr., excused the six men and six women until 9 a.m. today when they will continue deliberations.

Defense attorneys calmed Jenkins, 55, during the sentencing phase of the trial Tuesday afternoon after Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Lori DiGiosia pressed him about his motives for entering into a relationship with Sandra Cager.

Jenkins testified that he entered into the affair 10 years ago to help Cager, who was 23 years old at the time.

“I was in the relationship hoping to help her,” Jenkins testified.

“You were in it to help her?” DiGiosia asked in disbelief.

“She took everything I gave her and this is where I wind up,” Jenkins answered as he raised his voice and gestured with his raised index finger.

Defense attorneys Michael Levy and Wayne Marcus Scriven put their hands on Jenkins’ shoulder and his emotion seemed to subside.

The jury began deliberations at about 4 p.m. Monday and reconvened Tuesday at 9 a.m., reaching a verdict by 2 p.m.

DiGiosia asked the jury to consider the maximum sentence.

“What kind of man, goes to the home in the dead of night, where he knows people are tucked away in their beds … an 11- and 12-year-old and pours gasoline and lights it?” DiGiosia asked the jury. “He should not have the opportunity to unleash his wrath on people in the future.”

DiGiosia asked Jenkins if he considered hiding the affair a lie, after which he nodded.

“Was that not a lie to the congregation?” she asked.

“Forgiveness has been sought and forgiveness has been given,” Jenkins answered.

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