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.