10/31/2014

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Field Notes

Scenes from a murder: The killing of Tiffany Jenks

Scenes from a murder: The killing of Tiffany Jenks
Tiffany Jenks (right) with her sisterJennifer. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Jenks)
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In a flash, the gun went off and Tiffany Jenks, 35, was on the ground. Dead.

There were three people with her by Blue Lake Park in Fairview when it happened. And all will be behind bars Saturday when a memorial is held at Crane High School in Burns for Jenks.

Friends and family of Jenks have described her as having been a warm, caring, outgoing person who had struggled with addiction and depression ever since her father died in 2010.

She had worked as a hydrologist for the Bonneville Power Administration, a job she left around the time her father died.

In court documents released Friday, the story of the night unfolds like a movie. And since we know the ending, it’s easy to find yourself wanting to reach into the paper and shake some sense into Ms. Jenks before it is too late.

But no such luck.

“Mr. Bruynell claimed that Ms. Jenks was intoxicated and irrational and began yelling at them that they should shoot her,” according to the documents. “Mr. Bruynell recalled Mr. Robinett providing him with the .357 revolver and that Mr. Robinett and Ms. Worden-Brosey began telling Mr. Bruynell that he should shoot Ms. Jenks.

“Mr. Bruynell then shot Ms. Jenks.”

Step back for a second and meet the other players.

Daniel Bruynell and Josh Robinett knew each other from work in Oakland, California. Robinett, who was from Oregon before moving to Oakland where he lived six months, had recently moved back here to marry Michelle Worden-Brosey.

The two men came back to Oregon on October 7 so Robinett could sell Bruynell his revolver.

“Mr. Robinett acknowledged that the serial number was obliterated from the gun.”

After Bruynell paid for the gun in cash, the three of them started going to strip clubs – at least three of them, according to court papers.

“Mr. Robinett described going to strip clubs with Mr. Bruynell and Ms. Worden-Brosey and becoming intoxicated,” according to the papers. “He wasn’t sure who first met Ms. Jenks but he did recall Mr. Bruynell talking to her.”

This goes along with a theme in the papers – the engaged couple describe being along for the ride but not involved.

“He (Robinett) stated that he got out of the car to urinate in some bushes and that (Michelle) followed him. He and Ms. Worden began to have sex but he could still hear (Jenks and Bruynell) arguing.

“He claimed he did not hear a gunshot and did not see what happened to Ms. Jenks.”

It appears he didn’t really think too much about what had happened to her until he saw a clip on the news the next day saying her body had been found.

“(He) believed that Mr. Bruynell had killed her. He claimed he did not know for certain…because he had not seen that and did not hear gunfire.”

When Michelle was interviewed, according to court papers, she “told a substantially similar version of events.”

A couple of big differences: “she did, however, state that she heard a gunshot” and “she also stated that Mr. Robinett had mentioned to her that he had seen a muzzle flash.”

The three of them left Ms. Jenks dead in the park.

They all told investigators that they drove to a motel, stayed overnight and the next day, Bruynell took a bus back to Oakland.

In the end, it apparently was not hard for detectives to track the three down.

According to the court documents, they got a call from a friend of Ms. Jenks saying there was a good chance she had been at a certain club.

There, detectives found her on surveillance tape talking to the three whom they were able to identify because the club keeps track of the driver’s licenses of everyone who comes in.

In the court documents, Bruynell describes the immediate aftermath of the shooting.

“Mr. Bruynell stated that Mr. Robinett and Ms. Worden-Brosey observed the shooting and even congratulated him on shooting Ms. Jenks.”

In case there’s any doubt on what Bruynell was being congratulated for, the court documents make it clear:

“Dr. Larry Lewman of the Medical Examiner’s Office performed an autopsy on Ms. Jenks on October 9, 2013 and determined that she had died of a single gunshot wound of the brain.”

Jenks may have had problems. She deserved better.

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