By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
BOONEVILLE – Becky Jones was on her way to the state prison at Pearl minutes after a Prentiss County jury found her guilty of her mother’s murder.
Jones, 49, put her head in her hands and trembled emotionally on hearing the verdict: guilty.
She went on trial Tuesday for the May 11, 2010, shooting death of her mother, Jane Jones, as Jane’s 439 Highway 4 East home.
Prosecutors said she intended the kill her mother. Jones insisted it was an accident.
The jury spent about 90 minutes in deliberations Thursday night and then 2 1/2 hours on Friday.
• Read Saturday’s Daily Journal for more details. Read running accounts of her trial elsewhere on this website.
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Jury finds Becky Jones guilty of murder, as charged.
Judge sentences her to life in prison and $5,000 fine.
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UPDATE: 11:06 – Forces assembling in courtroom. May have a verdict.
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UPDATE 11:00 a.m. – Jury still in deliberations. No news in courtroom.
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UPDATE 10:30 a.m. – Jury began talks at 9 a.m. No reports yet.
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BOONEVILLE – Becky Jones’ future is on hold with her jury so far unable to decide whether or not she murdered her mother.
The 12- member jury returns this morning to the Prentiss County courthouse to resume deliberations. They began their discussions about her case about 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
Jones, 49, went on trial Tuesday – the second time after an October mistrial caused by her sudden, unexplained hospitalization.
Prosecutors say Jones intended to shoot her mother, 66-year-old Jane Jones, when Becky Jones brought a gun into the older woman’s home at 439 Highway 4 East of Booneville on May 11, 2010.
Her attorney, Rob Laher of Tupelo, repeatedly told the jury that despite the longtime rocky relationship between his client and her mother, she never meant to hurt her, much less kill her.
Judge Jim Seth Pounds presides over the murder trial, reportedly a rarity in Prentiss County. Assistant District Attorneys Josh Wise and Kimmie Kitchens represented the state.
Kitchens conducted several aggressive cross-examinations of defense witnesses Thursday, although she wasn’t as tough on Jones, who had the last word for herself.
“I loved my Mama,” she said repeatedly. “I did not murder Mama.”
But a 911 call to Prentiss County emergency dispatchers gave a different story, in Jane Jones’ own words: My daughter shot me twice. Please send help.
Jurors face four options: guilty or not guilty of murder, and if not guilty, then was it culpable negligent manslaughter or heat-of-passion manslaughter?
Jones said her mother attacked her as Jones rose from the couch to exit her mother’s home. She said they struggled over the gun and it went off twice.
Jane Jones was wounded in the arm/shoulder area and fatally in the abdomen. She died a few hours later as she arrived at North Mississippi Medical Center.
Forensic evidence showed gunshot residue on both women, indicating Jane Jones was at least within three feet of the gun. A medical examiner said analysis showed she was wounded by a gun between contact and nine inches from her.