Preacher’s wife says affair was old news

STAFFORD Ruby Jenkins, the wife of the preacher charged with attempted capital murder and arson, told those in Stafford County Circuit Court that she knew of her husband’s affair with his secretary but never confronted him.

Carl E. Jenkins, the founder of the Dale City Christian Church Cathedral of Praise, is accused of setting fire to the Stafford home of his former secretary, Sandra Cager, after she ended a 10-year relationship she described as “adulterous” in court Thursday.

Cager testified that the minister threatened to harm her when she tried to end the relationship and assaulted her at his house in front of his wife on Feb. 9 when the two confessed the affair.

Before a courtroom of more than 50 spectators most of whom supported their preacher Ruby Jenkins refuted Cager’s testimony.

“What did you say when you found out about the affair?” defense attorney Michael Levy asked Ruby Jenkins.

“I said I know … I know.” Ruby Jenkins answered.

“‘How did you feel at the time?”

“I was overwhelmed. I think I was a little numb.”

Ruby Jenkins said Cager was in tears and asked for forgiveness.

Defense attorney Wayne Marcus Scriven asked Ruby Jenkins why she forgave her husband and his mistress of their indiscretions. She said her religious training taught her that she must.

“It was a necessity. I wanted my marriage to last,” she said.

“Were you a witness to any form of physical violence that evening?” Levy asked.

“Most definitely not,” Jenkins answered.

On the night of March 2, Cager and her two sons awoke in their home at 300 Shelton Lane in Stafford to the smell of gasoline and discovered that a fire had started on the front steps of their home, according to previous testimony. Scorch marks were found on the front door, and the welcome mat had melted.

A newspaper delivery woman testified she saw someone who fit Carl Jenkins’ description near Cager’s home the night of the fire.

Ruby Jenkins testified that she had been restless that night and had awakened almost hourly throughout the night, and her husband was at home whenever she was awake.

She also testified that an elder from the church had been at their house that evening from 11:15 p.m. until 1 a.m. When the visitor left, they went to bed, Ruby Jenkins testified.

On cross examination, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Lori DiGiosia asked Ruby Jenkins if there had ever been times when her husband left the bed and she was unaware of his absence.

She said her husband often came home after 1 a.m. and often left the bedroom late at night to give himself insulin injections or to work in his study.

During her opening statement Wednesday, DiGiosia told the jury she would bring evidence to show that Jenkins was a man who insisted on having control. That strategy continued Friday, the trial’s third day.

“Your husband still has influence over the church?” DiGiosia asked Ruby Jenkins.

Ruby Jenkins asked for clarification.

” … He’s been sending bulletins to administer to the church from the Rappahannock Regional Jail …?” DiGiosia asked.

“Yes,” Ruby Jenkins answered.

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