Joshua Jenkins was 15 years old when he murdered five members of his family — American Monster on Investigation Discovery spotlights the case.
He was a troubled teen whose adoptive parents, George Jenkins, 50, and Alene Jenkins, 48, sent him away to boarding school at Vista Del Mar School in Los Angeles, California, after he armed himself with a crossbow and rifle and threatened to kill his father.
On February 2, 1996, his family picked him up for a weekend visit at his grandparents’—Bill Grossman, 78, and 74-year-old Evelyn Grossman—condominium in Vista.
While they were sleeping, he snuck into his parents and grandparents’ bedroom and bludgeoned them to death with a hammer and stabbed them with a kitchen knife.
The following morning, when his 10-year-old sister, Megan, woke up, he took her to a nearby store to purchase an ax. When they got back to the condo, he fatally struck her on the head with the ax.
He then dragged their bodies to the master bedroom and set the condominium on fire to cover up his crimes before fleeing the scene in his parent’s Mercedes Benz.
After Vista firefighters extinguished the fire, they discovered the bodies on top of each other in the master bedroom.
In the early hours of February 4, 1996, police arrested Joshua a few miles away from the crime scene. He initially denied having anything to do with the Jenkins Family murders.
Ten days later, he pled not guilty to the murders by way of insanity.
During his court hearing on April 8, 1996, the San Diego County Juvenile Court decided Joshua would be tried as an adult due to the brutality of the murders.
He changed his plea to guilty on the day before his trial was set to begin in April 1997.
Two months after Joshua pled guilty to murdering his family, a judge sentenced him to 112 to life in prison.
American Monster — Falling Down, airs at 8/7c on Investigation Discovery.