A St. Paul man has been convicted of fatally stabbing his friend’s girlfriend nearly 30 years ago in Minneapolis.
Donald C. Jenkins Jr., 58, was convicted Wednesday of intentional second-degree murder after a stipulated facts trial in Hennepin County District Court. He is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 14.
Jenkins killed 20-year-old Belinda Thompson on Dec. 19, 1991, in her apartment in the 2800 block of S. Grand Avenue. She was stabbed seven times in the front and four times in the back.
Jenkins was charged with the crime in 2018 after Minneapolis police and the FBI reopened the case and reexamined DNA and other physical evidence.
According to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office and charging documents, DNA testing on a bloody washcloth at the scene found that while 99% of the world’s population could be excluded as a contributor, Jenkins could not be ruled out.
Jenkins was interviewed about the case in 1992, 2010 and in 2018. The last time he was interviewed, he admitted to killing Thompson.
“My DNA is there,” he said, according to the county attorney’s office. “I did it.”
Jenkins told investigators that Thompson let him into her apartment, that he attacked her and then blacked out after she fell.
“I just know I saw a knife, and I grabbed it, and I hit her,” he said, adding that he stabbed her.
Jenkins told police he was “chasing dope” when he went to her apartment and didn’t think anyone would be home. He said he wasn’t supposed to visit when her boyfriend wasn’t present, so he killed Thompson because he thought the boyfriend would kill him.
The defendant waived his right to a jury trial. Judge Hilary Caligiuri reviewed evidence and heard arguments in the case before handing down the verdict.
Jenkins’ criminal record includes convictions for first-degree criminal sexual conduct and failing to register as a predatory offender.