August 14, 2013

Witness in Portland murder case indicted for cocaine trafficking

Christopher Jennings, 26, is not facing charges in the death of Margarita Fisenko Scott.

By SCOTT DOLAN Staff Writer

PORTLAND – An important police witness in the murder investigation of Margarita Fisenko Scott, whose body was found in the back seat of a sport utility vehicle in a Portland hotel parking lot in January, has been indicted in an unrelated felony drug trafficking case.

Christopher Jennings, 26, of 63 Berkshire Road in Portland, has not been charged in connection with Scott's death, although police said his DNA was found on the .40-caliber handgun used to kill her. He also had sex with Scott shortly before her death, according to a witness who testified at a court hearing in July.

Another man, 20-year-old Anthony Pratt, who lived off and on with Jennings at his previous apartment at 266 W. Concord St., has been charged with Scott's murder. Scott, 29, was having an affair with Pratt at the time of her death and divided her time between that apartment and her husband's home in Westbrook, police said.

Police allege that Pratt shot Scott in the neck Nov. 10, 2012, at the West Concord Street apartment, then hid her body before Jennings and his wife, Tunile Jennings, returned from a night out in Portland's Old Port.

Pratt has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder and is being held without bail pending trial.

Jennings testified at a bail hearing for Pratt last month that Pratt helped him deal drugs. Jennings and Pratt are from the same neighborhood in Far Rockaway, N.Y., and Pratt stayed with Jennings when he was in Maine.

On Monday, the Cumberland County District Attorney's Office announced that Jennings was indicted by the Cumberland County grand jury on one count of aggravated trafficking of cocaine, a Class A felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison, and a misdemeanor count of violation of conditions of his release.

The indictment stems from May 12, the day after Jennings was arrested in Portland during a traffic stop on a misdemeanor drug possession charge.

Portland police went to Jennings' new apartment on Berkshire Road to check whether he was abiding by the terms of his bail from the May 11 arrest. Officers obtained a search warrant for a safe they found in the apartment and discovered 40 grams of crack cocaine inside, according to a report by Special Agent Andrew Hagerty of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.

Jennings has since been released on $5,000 cash bail with a condition that he must reside in Maine.

The police investigation into Scott's slaying focused on Pratt, since he had tracked her to her husband's home in Westbrook and assaulted her there Nov. 10 before she disappeared, Portland police Detective Richard Vogel said in an affidavit.

The Jenningses told police they last saw Scott when she drove them to the Old Port on Nov. 10, while Pratt stayed home to babysit the Jenningses' children.

The Jenningses told police that when they returned home, Pratt was alone with their children. They said he left early the next day to return to New York.

Christopher Jennings initially told police that he believed Pratt had taken the gun to New York, but police later found the gun in the attic of the Jenningses' new apartment, the affidavit said.

Tests on the gun showed the DNA of at least three people, including the Jenningses, but not Pratt. Other witnesses told police that they had seen Pratt handle the gun while wearing latex gloves, the affidavit said.

 

Scott Dolan can be contacted at: 791-6304 or at:

sdolan@mainetoday.com

 

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