Palmer sentenced to death

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WAYNESBORO, Ga. - Once again a jury of Willie Palmer's peers looked at who he is and what he did and sentenced him to death.

Palmer  Special

Mr. Palmer sat expressionless as the clerk announced the jury's unanimous vote for death after deliberating a little more than an hour.

A day earlier, the Burke County Superior Court jury took about half an hour to find Mr. Palmer, 54, guilty of the murders of his estranged wife, 31-year-old Brenda Jenkins Palmer, and stepdaughter, 15-year-old Christine Jenkins.

Ms. Palmer was trying to hide from her estranged husband. She had filed for divorce and sought the protection of a court order, which sent Mr. Palmer to jail because he wouldn't leave her alone.

Ten days after he got out of jail the last time, however, he found out where Ms. Palmer had fled with Christine and the Palmers' 15-month-old daughter. Just after 10 p.m. on Sept. 10, 1995, Mr. Palmer kicked down the door to the tiny Vidette house she had rented.

"Set the appropriate punishment for a man who shoots a 15-year-old girl between the eyes ... who kills an unarmed mother'' and then leaves a baby with the dead, District Attorney Danny Craig told the jury.

"This week you had evil visited upon you," he said. One rarely gets to decide how to punish evil, he said.

Attorney Michael Garrett, who represented Mr. Palmer, asked the jury to see a lifetime behind bars without any hope of parole as the more just sentence.

It makes no sense to kill people in order to teach others not to kill, he argued.

"We can find justice in this without blood atonement," he said.

The victims' family members were relieved to see the end of the trial and sentencing.

"It's just what I was looking for," said John Henry Jenkins, who lost his sister and niece. "It was very hard on us to have to go through this again."

This month's trial was Mr. Palmer's third. The first, in April 1997, ended in a mistrial. He was convicted and sentenced to death at the conclusion of a second trial in Washington County in November 1997.

But the conviction was overturned in October 2003 when it was revealed that an important witness was paid for his testimony.

Mr. Garrett said after the trial that he will explore the possibility of another appeal.

Senior Judge William M. Fleming Jr. also sentenced Mr. Palmer to an additional 70 years for the crimes of burglary, kidnapping, cruelty to children and weapon violations.

The sentencing enambles the Sheriff's office to sends Mr. Palmer back to death row.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or

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PlayaFace 08/25/07 - 08:08 am
he should get no appeal.

he should get no appeal. death by leathal injection is just punishment for what he did to that family

butterflygina 08/25/07 - 08:19 am
i agree. he is a monster and

i agree. he is a monster and kudos for the da's office for having the courage to try this case again, even if somewhere along the line someone there did something they sholdn't have.

NEone 08/25/07 - 09:19 am
Quick. Execute him before he

Quick. Execute him before he has a chance to waste any more of our money.

cris5374 08/25/07 - 06:48 pm
lock this animal up ,and drop

lock this animal up ,and drop the cage in the river

gonefromaugusta 08/25/07 - 08:12 pm
If the wife was hiding,

If the wife was hiding, obviously someone told him where she was. That person should be given the death penalty too. How can you live with your self, knowing you caused the death of someone, unless you just don't care? Come clean and admit that you helped him, because you are an assessory to murder. That 15 year old childs blood is on your hands. It has been revealed to me who you are, so come clean and turn your self in.

intheknow 08/26/07 - 10:01 am
12 years is enough. Time to

12 years is enough. Time to pay for YOUR CHOICE.

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