Danielle Jennings was found strangled to death in her apartment by a maintenance worker whose lengthy criminal record was overlooked. American Nightmare on Investigation Discovery takes a closer look at the case.
In 1999, things were going seemingly well for the 20-year-old. She had just started a new job and was raising her one-year-old son, Triston, with her soon-to-be husband in their home at Ashley Lakes Apartments in Gwinnett County, Georgia.
It all went amiss on March 15 of that year when Jennings returned to her home during her lunch break. Her co-workers said she wasn’t feeling well and decided to eat lunch at her home.
That’s when the maintenance worker, Calvin Oliver, entered her apartment and strangled her to death with a nylon stocking, before stealing her engagement ring.
Hours later, Jennings’ fiance discovered her lifeless body. When police learned of Oliver’s criminal history dating back to 1974, he was their primary suspect.
It was later uncovered that several tenants at the apartment complex complained about Oliver, saying he had been entering their apartment without warning.
One tenant testified that Oliver entered her apartment without knocking. When he noticed she was home, he told her that he was there to replace light bulbs — but she assured him that she did not put in a request to replace any light bulbs.
Oliver’s response was that it must have been an apartment with a similar number to hers.
It was later revealed that there were no work orders for a light bulb replacement on any of the apartments.
Another tenant testified that her security system monitoring service indicated that there had been two entries into her apartment. When she returned home, her door was unlocked.
The Jennings family later sued TGM Associates, the company that owned Ashley Lakes Apartment, and won a multi-million-dollar settlement.
The company failed to check Oliver’s criminal background.
Beverly Glover, one of the leasing managers, recommended Oliver for a position as a maintenance worker. He told her that he had some issues with the law and that he had a criminal record; however, no one ever looked into it and he was hired.
Oliver reportedly had “felony convictions for rape at knifepoint, armed robbery, larceny, robbery by force, and at least three residential burglaries.”
After Jennings’ murder, her mother, Sherry Jennings, was granted custody of her son, who is now 22 years old.
Oliver received a life sentence for the murder and an additional 10 years for stealing Jennings’ engagement ring.
American Nightmare — Watch Your Back, airs at 9pm on Investigation Discovery.