By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
BOONEVILLE – A full day of testimony is slated today for the second trial of Rebecca “Becky” Jones, accused of fatally shooting her mother.
Jones, 39, witnessed jury selection from a 117-voter pool Tuesday, then final decisions for a 14-member panel to consider what happens to the rest of her life.
Jones’ first trial last October ended in a mistrial when Jones mysteriously ended up comatose in an Alabama hospital as the proceeding’s third day began.
Judge Jim Seth Pounds declared a mistrial and ordered Jones arrested as soon she was released from the hospital. It took weeks for her to recover.
A Prentiss County indictment accuses Jones of intentionally shooting her mother, Jane, at Jane Jones’ home on Highway 40 east of Booneville in May 2010 after an argument and a struggle over a gun Becky Jones carried with her.
Jones’ attorney, Rob Laher of Tupelo, insists his client did not intend to kill her mother when she went to confront her about the potential sale of property she’d been forced to turn over to Jane years before.
Jane Jones’ death was “the culmination of a horrible relationship between two people. It started when Becky was quite young.
“She looked to her mother for love. She tried to replace her sister. Jane didn’t want to hear that,” Laher said in his opening remarks. “Jane didn’t love her, she took her pain out on Becky. For the next 30-40 years, back and forth they went.”
Prosecutor Kimmie Kitchens told the jury of seven men and seven women – two are alternates – that Jane Jones “never thought that child she gave life to was the child that one day would take her life.”
“On May 12, 2010, the defendant murdered her own mother. With not one shot, but two shots to make sure the job was done,” Kitchens said. “You will hear evidence that the gun’s hammer was cocked back a third time, had it been necessary.”
In the first trial, the few witnesses to testify said the two women had a long history of bad blood. Jane Jones blamed Becky for the accidental death of Becky’s sister, who was run over by a school bus as the two waited to go to school. And Becky blamed her mother for estrangement with her own daughter and the loss of family property.
Josh Wise also represents the state.
Tuesday’s only witness was Tammy Johnson, a Prentiss County sheriff’s deputy, who was first to arrive at Jane Jones’ home after she called 911 for help.
She testified to meeting Becky Jones in the driveway at 439 Highway 40 East and taking her into custody before exploring the house, where she found Jane Jones on the floor wounded and talking on the telephone with 911.
Johnson said Becky Jones showed no outward signs of a physical struggle and that the house didn’t either.
She also said that soon after she discovered Jane Jones, who asked for help, the woman’s condition deteriorated rapidly and “she turned gray.”
A 9mm handgun was found on the couch in Jane Jones’ living room.
Additional local law enforcement and forensic experts are expected to testify today.