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Joshua Jones' mental health, family history documented in court evidence

Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 5:04 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 1:21 AM
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A long history of mental illness, family troubles and criminal offenses preceded the day Joshua T. Jones murdered an Aiken Public Safety officer. He was later charged with killing the girlfriend whom he shared an apartment with in Augusta.

Joshua T. Jones: Man plead guilty in the slaying of an Aiken Public Safety officer.
Joshua T. Jones: Man plead guilty in the slaying of an Aiken Public Safety officer.


A psychiatric evaluation and detailed family and social chronologies entered as evidence in court document Jones’ family history of schizophrenia and his troubled childhood and adolescence.

Jones, 28, was sentenced to life in prison without parole Feb. 3 after pleading guilty but mentally ill in the 2012 slaying of Aiken Public Safety Master Cpl. Sandy Rogers. Court psychiatrist Donna Schwartz-Watts diagnosed Jones a schizophrenic.

Rogers was shot in the head about 7:30 a.m. Jan. 28, 2012, after responding to a call of suspicious activity at Eustis Park. Investigators said Jones had gone to the park after fleeing the apartment he shared with Cayce Vice. Police later found Vice shot to death in her bed.

Jones is incarcerated at South Carolina’s Kirkland Correctional Institution, a maximum-security prison with mental health facilities. He also faces murder charges in Georgia for Vice’s death.

Boyd Young, Jones’ attorney, said his client’s well-documented and substantial mental health history got to a “dire point.” More intervention could have been possible although it’s difficult to say what resources were available to the family, he said.

“Once I knew Josh wasn’t faking it and we had a family history and documents to support a schizophrenic diagnosis, I immediately used it to resolve the case,” Young said.

Jones’ troubles began long before Rogers’ murder. A social history chronology shows Jones had no prenatal care and a tumor at birth. As a child, Jones’ parents divorced after several domestic incidents.

Six months before the incident, Jones tried to commit suicide by shooting himself in the head and was sent to Aurora Pavilion Behavioral Health Services in Aiken.

He was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and discharged two weeks later.

Court documents state that he was encouraged to return to the facility “if symptoms warrant.” Jones was cited as saying he did not continue taking prescribed antidepressants “because he could not afford to get refills.”

More than a decade earlier, he had received some mental evaluations but the extent was not documented.

Following Jones’ 2001 expulsion from North Augusta High School for bringing a gun to school, he was committed to the Midlands Regional Evaluation Center, a state facility that makes court-ordered evaluation for juveniles.

The facility was to make “recommendations regarding the most appropriate custodial or correctional care and any other interventions that might hold him accountable for the current offense and reduce the likelihood of future offending,” according to the social history.

Between 2002 and 2011, Jones committed several criminal offenses, including stabbing his father. Also during that period, he worked several jobs and earned about $40,000 one year.

In the psychiatric evaluation, Schwartz-Watts reported that Jones heard voices and hallucinated. He was not observed sleeping in the Aiken County Detention Center for nearly a month after he was arrested and he stood on his feet so long they became swollen.

The court documents show that Jones’ maternal great-grandmother and grandmother were institutionalized for mental illness and several other cousins and extended relatives suffered from mental health issues or addictions.

On Feb. 28, Jones was involuntarily committed to the Bryan Psychiatric Hospital, a South Carolina mental health facility, for chewing on his wrists while in jail. He was discharged fifteen days later.

During a March 13, 2012, Probate Court hearing while Jones was committed to Bryan, his parents told the judge there was no follow-up after he was discharged from Aurora. His father was never told a diagnosis, he testified.

Comments (10) Add comment
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KSL
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KSL 02/15/14 - 07:13 pm
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4
Waste of resources.

Waste of resources.

KSL
143809
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KSL 02/15/14 - 07:19 pm
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And total incompetency in

And total incompetency in those who let him go those multiple times.

KSL
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KSL 02/15/14 - 08:09 pm
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4
He and the rest of his family

He and the rest of his family with the history of schizophrenia and their lawyers should have been on trial. I have had enough dealings with schizophrenics who went off their meds. There is no hope if they don't stay on their meds if they are seriously impaired.

KSL
143809
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KSL 02/16/14 - 06:26 am
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3
Who was supposed to be in

Who was supposed to be in charge of this releasee taking his meds. Somebody messed up big time if there was no responsible person in charge. Schizophrenics typically hate taking their meds. I Have known that since the 70's. Way before my young twin cousins were diagnosed, not my side of the family.

They were not paranoid, but the were cut off by my medical doctor, married into the famil uncle, from inheriting from him if they reproduced and carried that gene further.

It tototally skipped him. He was wonderful. Studied in under Cooley and Debaky right soon after the first heart transplant in Houston. Already a surgeon.

internationallyunknown
5018
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internationallyunknown 02/16/14 - 09:39 am
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Prayers to all families

Prayers to all families involved.

Generational mental illness is SERIOUS....especially in the black community.

jimmymac
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jimmymac 02/16/14 - 11:29 am
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MURDERER
Unpublished

This guy may be mentally but the three people he killers aren't any less dead. He's still guilty and should pay the price. Would you want this guy around you even in jail? Are the guards supposed to deal with this guy? He doesn't have anything to lose if he kills again. They should have sentenced him to death!

corgimom
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corgimom 02/16/14 - 05:00 pm
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So many people want to talk

So many people want to talk about "able-bodied moochers that don't work" and "generational welfare" when a lot of it is because of generational mental health issues.

Some lucky people can have their mental illness controlled with medication and can lead good lives, but there are some that aren't stabilized, even with medication.

Many people in the black community are distrustful of doctors and medications, they were brought up to distrust doctors because of the shameful way blacks were treated by the medical profession.

myfather15
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myfather15 02/17/14 - 05:45 am
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1
This will be a never ending

This will be a never ending situation with treating him!! He will end up killing guards or other inmates while in prison!!

I've dealt with many Schizophrenics as well. Most don't want to take the medications because they say it make them feel weird or "not right". They believe their behavior is normal, and when taking medication they believe THAT is when they aren't right. It's very hard to get one of these people to take medications WHEN they are supposed to and the amount they are supposed to.

I'm all for treating them with everything possible; until they've taken an innocent life!! Then they should get the death penalty!! Might seem harsh, but it's not!! It's actually compassion!!

Marinerman1
5461
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Marinerman1 02/17/14 - 01:21 pm
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There are Times...

There are times when even the mentally ill have to be executed. In this case, I fully believe the "guilty but mentally ill" was used to escape the death penalty. Then again, the DA has not been real "hard on capital crime", so maybe she offered it. A complete waste of our oxygen, agreeing with 'myfather15', should have been given the needle --- QUICKLY.

corgimom
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corgimom 02/17/14 - 07:59 pm
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In prison, he'll be forced to

In prison, he'll be forced to take his meds, and he will probably do quite well.

Hawkman0718
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Hawkman0718 02/18/14 - 01:16 pm
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"Jones tried to commit suicide..."

Sorry he failed even at that. Two innocent people would still be alive if this guy had been successful.

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