Lee County man appeals murder conviction of grandfather

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — A man convicted of murdering his grandfather has asked for a new trial, saying his attorneys should have presented more evidence that showed the killing was self defense.

Brett Jones, who is serving a life sentence, was convicted in the 2004 death of Bertis Jones, 68, who was slain at his home in Shannon after being stabbed repeatedly with a steak knife. Brett Jones, who was then 15, and his grandfather had argued over a telephone bill, prosecutors said.

Brett Jones said in court documents his trail attorneys failed to show the jury an accurate layout of the kitchen, where the fight began. That could have persuaded a jury that he was trapped by the older man, with no way to escape, he said.

The state Court of Appeals has scheduled arguments for March 30. The court upheld Jones’ murder conviction and sentence in 2006, and a Lee County judge turned down his post conviction petition in 2009.

At trial, Brett Jones testified trial that his grandfather, who he described as a big man, pushed him and yelled at him, according to court documents. He said he had a steak knife because he was making a sandwich and he stabbed his grandfather repeatedly when he kept coming at him.

His girlfriend, Michelle Austin, testified he told her after the argument that he wanted to hurt his grandfather, according to court documents. Austin pleaded guilty in 2005 to accessory to murder after the fact and was given a suspended sentence.

The Appeals Court ruled in 2006 that while there was conflicting testimony, such issues were up to the jury to sort out.

The case is among dozens before the Appeals Court in its March-May term. Among other cases are:

— Carl Holder’s appeal of his guilty plea to manslaughter in a 2009 home invasion case from Jones County. Holder pleaded guilty to manslaughter and burglary in the 2008 death of Frederico Ramirez Perez of Laurel. Prosecutors said Perez was killed when he confronted five men who broke into his home. Holder was sentenced to two consecutive 20-year prison terms.

— Mark Kee Brown’s appeal of his 2009 conviction in Harrison County for capital murder in the shooting death of D’Iberville resident Larry Darnell Turner in a home invasion. Brown was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Brown’s appeal was to have been earlier this year by the court but was delayed after Brown was appointed a new attorney.

— Joshua Moore’s appeal of his conviction for his role in a 2007 armed robbery that led to a fatal shooting. Moore was sentenced to 45 years in 2009 in Marion County for manslaughter, six counts of armed robbery and one count of conspiracy.

Prosecutors said Moore was among three men charged in the death of Algeno L. Flowers. Prosecutors said a group of people were playing a dice game when three men rushed into the house, ordered everyone to the ground and demanded money. Prosecutors said Flowers was shot as the men fled the scene.