by: Greg Suskin Updated:
YORK COUNTY, S.C. - Channon Forte broke down in court Thursday, not sparing the judge the harsh reality of raising children without their father.
"I have a 2-year-old who every time he walks into that house, he asks where his father is," Forte said through tears.
It was Jan. 27, 2013, when three men forced their way into the home of Shannon Jenkins, 31, and killed him in front of some of his children.
Prosecutors said it appeared to be a planned execution, at least for one of the suspects, Vincent Bratton, 27.
Officials said Bratton, along with Dennis Page and Rockyee Mobley, went to a Walmart in Rock Hill on that same day and bought bandanas to wear during the crime. Jenkins was shot in his home in the middle of the night, then they tossed the 40-caliber pistol over the Catawba River bridge on Interstate 77.
Jenkins and Forte knew Bratton as a friend. Earlier he had lived with them for more than a year. He ate at their table and played with their children.
Forte screamed at him in a York County courtroom on Thursday.
"You have no loyalty! You betrayed us!" she said.
As Bratton and Page entered the house, they encountered Jenkins in a hallway. He was shot in the chest, and after he fell, Bratton stood over him and fired five more times into his body. The bullets went through him and the floor, into the basement.
Then they grabbed Jenkins’ 9-year-old son from his bed at gunpoint, threatening to kill him in front of his dying father, if he didn't tell them where his money was. The men thought Jenkins would have large amounts of cash and drugs.
Page and Mobley both spoke openly to sheriff's investigators after the murder, and planned to testify against Bratton in a trial. Prosecutors said they only went with Bratton that night expecting a robbery, not a murder. Bratton had gotten out of jail that same day on a drug charge, and thought Jenkins had ratted him out to police.
In court, Page and Mobley, apologized to the family for being involved.
Mobley, who never went into the house and tried to run away during the shooting, broke down in tears, and said he should've never been there that night.
Jenkins' children are left without a father, and Forte without an answer.
"I don't know what to tell my kids," she said. "What do I tell them?"
Bratton pleaded guilty last week to murder, armed robbery and other charges, but changed his mind on Thursday. He asked to change his plea. The judge said it was too late, and went ahead with the sentencing.
Bratton was sentenced to the maximum of 40 years in prison under an agreement between lawyers. Page got 20 years for the robbery and conspiracy, and Mobley, who was the least involved, will serve 15.