Local News

Family Asks For Justice In Clayton Murder Case

Posted December 29, 2004

— For the first time, a family involved in a six-year-old murder is talking. They are trying to put a face behind the victim and get the ultimate punishment for the man accused of killing Richard Vestal Jr.

"The most important thing to us, I think, is just to know that he didn't die in vain, that justice does get served. That's all anyone would want," said Stella Cates, Vestal's sister.

Vestal was killed in 1998 after being shot inside his home. The family is upset that so far Johnston County is not pursuing the death penalty. The district attorney's office said there is not enough evidence to make it a capital case so far.

Jonathan Jenkins was arrested in November for the crime. Jenkins' congregation is raising money for Jenkins' $750,000 bond.

"He didn't give my brother a chance to raise his children and give them a life or see his grandchildren grow up and give them a life," said Linda Vestal, Richard's sister.

The break in the case came when Clayton police matched up DNA found on a mask at the crime scene with Jenkin's DNA. He remains behind bars.

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