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Prosecutor to seek death sentence in triple homicide

Tuesday, June 18, 2013 5:16 PM
Last updated 6:55 PM
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District Attorney Ashley Wright has filed the formal notice necessary to seek the death penalty in the case of a Hephzibah man accused of killing his parents and younger brother.

Ryan D. Jones, 26, has been held in jail without bond since his arrest in the deaths of Roosevelt Jones, 64, Edna Jones, 64, and Russell Jones, 20, whose partially burned and dismembered bodies were found on May 21 in a field behind Deer Chase Elementary School.

Wright filed the notice Friday in Richmond County Superior Court, where Jones faces charges of malice and felony murder and weapon violations in each of the three deaths.

Jones has not been arraigned on the charges, and with the death penalty notice filed, his arraignment will be delayed until special counsel can be assigned to his case. Currently in Georgia, indigent people facing capital murder charges are represented through the Capital Defender office out of Atlanta.

Wright’s notice lists 10 statutory aggravating circumstances: Each of the homicides was committed while Jones was allegedly engaged in the slaying of the other victims; each slaying was “outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible, or inhuman in that it involved torture, depravity of mind, or an aggravated battery to the victim”; and the slaying of Edna Jones was committed to take the victim’s personal property.

If a jury finds Jones guilty of murder, the jury will be asked to determine punishment – life in prison with or without the possibility of parole, or death. To impose death, the jury must also find that at least one aggravating circumstance is true beyond a reasonable doubt.

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JRC2024 06/19/13 - 07:59 am
Good for you Ashley. What is

Good for you Ashley. What is wrong with the local attorney for indigent people representing him. Are they not good enough or does he get high priced attorneys at the taxpayer expense?

itsanotherday1 06/19/13 - 10:47 am
I understand the reason for

I understand the reason for 8th Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, but it seems like other parts of the Constitution, it has been too liberally interpreted.

I would be OK with eliminating the death penalty and its associated exhorbitant costs if we could put people like this away in a special wing of the prison where they were totally isolated. They don't need to be beaten, tortured, deprived of medical care or food, but they should spend the rest of their lives looking at 4 walls 24/7.

corgimom 06/20/13 - 01:11 pm
Anybody standing trial in a

Anybody standing trial in a capital case has to have special attorneys that are familiar with defending someone in a death-penalty case. It's for the benefit of everyone concerned, otherwise if the defendant is found guilty, the verdict would be overturned on appeal.

Too many people in the past received the death penalty because of incompetant counsel and didn't receive an adequate defense.

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