St. Johnsbury businessman Blake Jenkins Sr. doesn’t have to report to federal prison until October

St. Johnsbury businessman Blake Jenkins Sr. doesn’t have to report to federal prison until October so he’s got some time to fight a state arson charge that’s been pending against him since 2019. Jenkins, 61, was recently convicted in U.S. District Court of evading taxes and committing identity theft while running Blake Jenkins Painting, Inc. The federal charges, brought by the Internal Revenue Service, were filed about a year after Jenkins was accused by St. Johnsbury Police of setting his daughter’s car on fire. In 2019, Jenkins pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of 3rd-degree arson and a misdemeanor charge of operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent. But his defense attorney, Jody M. Frey, of Newport, later filed a motion asking the court to dismiss the charges against Jenkins arguing that prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence to convict him. As of Friday, the Caledonia Superior Court calendar shows a hearing scheduled on Aug. 18 at 1 p.m. in St. Johnsbury to hear Jenkins’ request that the charges be dismissed. The case could also be settled by plea agreement or go to trial if the court does not dismiss the charges. Attorney Frey has argued that the state cannot establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Jenkins is guilty because it cannot produce admissible evidence as to the cause of the fire.