By Patsy R. Brumfield / Daily Journal
4:40 P.M. POST
BOONEVILLE – Questionable testimony by Becky Jones’ daughter and an uncle by marriage will weigh on the jury’s mind tonight.
A pregnant Brooke Creech was a emotional and argumentative first witness for the defense.
While she insisted she never told her mother that her grandmother, Jane Jones, planned to sell property Becky Jones considered hers, she spoke repeatedly by cell phone with her mother the day Becky Jones shot Jane Jones.
At times, Creech said she couldn’t remember things that happened or what she told authorities.
The second defense witness, Billy Arnold, was quick with country wisdom about the good and bad of Becky Jones’ life with her mother.
But he admitted confusion about other details, although he insisted Jane Jones was the source of much of Becky Jones’ early troubles.
Becky got much better, he insisted, “after she got away from her mama.”
Trial resumes at 9 a.m. Thursday and could all be over by the end of the day.
Becky Jones, 49, is accused of fatally shooting her mother at Jane Jones’ Prentiss County home May 11, 2010.
This is her second trial for murder – last fall Judge Jim Seth Pounds declared a mistrial on the third day when her defense attorney announced she was hospitalized in a coma of unknown causes.
It’s unclear if Becky Jones will testify Thursday and try to save herself from the rest of her life in prison.
• • •
Below is a running account from Wednesday afternoon’s proceedings. Please excuse the typos and glitches likely as I type rapidly.)
3:30 P.M. -
(Becky Jones entered the courtroom about 3:23 p.m. walking with the aid of a metal walker. She has short medium-brown hair and wears glasses. She’s wearing a maroon skirt, tailored leather jacket and a white turtleneck blouse. I did not see her expression while the 911 tape was being played. She looks more upset now than at any other time in the trial. She’s sitting at the defense table with her head bowed against her hands, somewhat in a prayerful posture. Now she’s speaking with a woman who’s been assisting Laher during the trial.)
3:35 – JUDGE – MET in chambers with both sides. Photo of hole in wall. State objects. If proper predicate, will be allowed. Taken in 2012. Bring jury in.
LAHER – FIRST DEFENSE WITNESS BROOKE CREECH, Becky Jones’ daughter.
CREECH – (She looks very unhappy on stand.) Becky Jones… she’s my mother. Jane Jones was my grandmother. (After incident in 2010, gave statement to a deputy?) Yes. To DA’s office.
(Laher – Sometimes you lived with grandmother?) About 4 years. (During time, aware …lived in Alabama, mother did with stepfather?) Yes, mother doing well there. (How do you know.) Going to church, doing good. Visited from time to time. (May 2010, was she coming back that day to you?) To have a jewelry party. To get some recipes and staying with my uncle, Bill Arnold. Excited about it. (Speak with her that day?) Yes. (Tell her about …) Talked about her party, recipes seeing the baby. Child was a few months old. (Spoke with mom, did you tell her about property?) I said man was moved off the property. Didn’t say grandmother selling the land. (Did she seem upset?) No. (Angry?) No.
(After you left grandmotehr?) We were always fighting, arguing, always cussing. Got physical. When I was pregnant, night I moved out. She pushed me to the ground, kicked me in my stomach. Told me she didn’t care of the baby died. (Who reached out and got you back with your grandmother?) My mom, wanted us to reconcile. No intentions of her ever seeing the child. Did because Mom asked, only reason she got to see him.
(Bullet hole?) We found it on side of wall. Found the bullet in the closet. (Photo?) That’s the bullet hole in the wall that we found. (Where?) There when that occurred. (Laher – asks to enter into evidence. STATE OBJECTS. JUDGE OVERRULES.)
(Customary for your mother to have a gun?) Yes, always. (Why?) She was attacked, broken into and held at gunpoint by somebody years ago. She’s always had a gun, in the hospital when my baby was born. She had it there, for protection. Not unusual at all.
(Asked about mother and grandmother?) She (grandmother) really didn’t want to see her. Mom tried to make things work. 3:48
KITCHENS TO QUESTION – Creech looks young, she is pregnant
(Did you say … question – about telling your mother about land sale?) I told her people were moved off the land. (Now you remember telling your mother, grandmother is going to sell the land?) No, I said person going to be kicked off the land. (Shows her statement 10/20/2010. Remember this? Your signature? Remember doing that?) shakes her head yes. (Kitchens reads it – that Creech told her mother that grandmother was going to sell the property on Pisgah Road.) OBJECTION – ARGUMENTATIVE. JUDGE – OVERRULED, SHE’S ON CROSS
I gave the statement. (Did you sign this?) I did. (Around 3 p.m., conversation with your mother May 11, 2010. Right?) This was four years ago. (Actually says sometime AFTER 3 P.M. Are you aware what time your grandma was shot?) No I don’t. (Was just a couple of hours later?) I can’t remember, it was three years ago.
(Follow along with me… statement. She wasn’t aware of sale and that grandmother couldn’t do it because it was hers, Becky’s. Did you say that?) That’s what I said. (Trying to make your grandma some kind of bad person?) No, I’m here to tell the truth. (Is that what Laher said to say?) I’m here to tellthe truth. (When you were 12, you went to live with grandma… because that’s what you wanted to do?) She gave me anything I wanted. That’s why. (Then you say wanted to live with grandma, went to chancery court. Did you tell them that?) I hardly remember that. Yes, she gave me whatever I wanted. Let me do what I wanted. There were no boundaries. (Remember you had your own attorney? Givng reasons why wanted to live with grandma?) I do not. (Don’t remember saying that … incident when you were living with defendant, friend spending night. Friend got intoxicated there. Told that?) Not at all.
(Don’t remember conversation, saying your mother was passed out?) I don’t remember telling that. (To saying grandmother took good care of you?) I don’t remember any of that. (Same grandma we’re talking about today?) Same one. (Aware of your mother’s past drug use?) Grandma told me. Aware of it. LAHER – OBJECT. SUSTAINED – WHAT’S RELEVANCE, JUDGE ASKS? MOVE ON
(Kitchens asks to talk to judge with Laher. Wise joins them.)
JUDGE – Keep questions about statement.
(Did you know your mother had drug problem from cocaine use?) No. (Show your statement, nine days after the crime. “I know cocaine was a problem.”) Yes, I thought we were talking about when I was 12. (You said I know.) I know that now. (You have stated the reason your Mom was coming to MS was to have jewelry party. What date was it?) Can’t remember exact date. Believe it was a Tuesday or Wednesday. (When di dyou talk to your mom that day?) Several. (What is your phone number then?) Tells her. (Kitchens asked her about another number?) I don’t know. I’ve changed my phone nubmer several times. Could be it. (Mother’s number at the time?) Can’t say it off the top of my head. (Remember talking to her that day, lasted for 44 minutes 15 seconds beginning at 2:15 p.m.?) I talked to her several times. Can’t remember that.
(You talked to her six times. One for nearly 45 minutes. Remember it?) I can’t remember word for word, sure we talked about the baby and other things. (Shows Laher blowup of phone records from 5/10 between Brooke and defendant.) JUDGE – MARK FOR ID ONLY
(Shows her phone bill enlargement. Is that yours? From 5/10. Your phone record?) Yes. (Enter into evidence.) JUDGE – ENTER INTO EVIDENCE
(Looking at phone bill. Shows her log of conversations. 2:15 p.m. Talked again 4:38 p.m. to your mom?) Yes, what it says. (How long before the crime?) I don’t. (Talk about this long phone call. Did she tell you in all that time that she was on her way to Mississippi?) No. (During that time, you thought she was in Alabama?) Yes. (At any time do you remember Jane and your mother having any sort of physical outbreak?) I never saw any physical fights.
(Never once?) Not in front of me. (Know your mother had permit to carry a gun?) I don’t know. (Carried it into hospital?) She always had it. (Either kept it in car or her purse?) Right. (Grandma was so bad …you were allowed to have another baby?) Yes, child alive when grandma was alive. (Entrusted grandma to care for that child?) Yes. (Grandma babysat that child the weekend before she died while you were in Alabama with defendant?) Yes. (Where do you live?) 439 Hwy 4 East. (In your grandma’s home?) Yes. (Inherited it, other things too?) Yes. (You’re better off now without her?) Financially, no.
(If your mom was trying to get all y’all back together, did you know she did not call her mother on Mother’s Day two days before this?) No. (Did you call your grandma on Mother’s day?) No.
LAHER – RE-DIRECT 4:10 P.M.
(About cell phone that day… statement to sheriff…. [hard to understand Laher]) No.
EXCUSES WITNESS 4:11 (MAY RECALL HER)
DEFENSE CALLS BILL ARNOLD
ARNOLD – Lives out from Booneville since 1975. Becky Jones, my wife’s niece. My niece too.
(Laher – recall when incident occurred?) Yes. Very well. (Expecting Becky that evening?) Yes. That afternoon she was coming to my house after a visit with woman, to set up a jewelry party. She said she might spend the night, which she had done several times before. She never made it. (Had dealings with Jane Jones?) Owned property right next to mine. I sold timber off my land. After they cut it, Jane came over to my house. She blasted out at my wife, who was bad sick before she died of cancer. I told her just to go sit down. That it was my land, not hers. She thought I had her timber cut. I offered to show her where land line was, and she wouldn’t hear of it. Said she would have lines drawn herself. She was cussing, slinging and a stomping.
She would come by occasionally. Didn’t call and say coming. (Did she later apologize?) Later, when she had lines ran. She called and said you were right. She said she owed me an apology. (Jane and Becky had difficult relationship?) Yes. (Aware that Becky had moved out of state?) Yes. (Notice a change in her?) She got to where she didn’t cry and wonder why mother treated her the way she did. She was going to church. Got to be the happy person taht she would have been. She’d gotten away from Prentiss county and her mother. I told her not to go over there without someone else because her mother would jump on hjer …. OBJECTION – SUSTAINED.
(Happier Becky?) Yes. (Moved on?) Yes.
KITCHENS TO CROSS-EXAMINE 4:19
(Kitchens – You are Becky’s uncle?) Yes. (No relationship to Jane Jones?) She was my sister-in-law. Through her cousin, they were divorced. (No relative blood relation to Jane?) No. (Way you described Jane Jones as argumentative … was that way that defendant acted?) Huh? (Isdefendant argumentative/) No (Lose her temper easily?) Not often. (Seen her lose it?) Yes. (Did her moods change quickly?) No.
(Shows him earlier statement … about Rebecca’s moods and how they could change. You answered, a little but not a lot. But quickly. You said, yes. How mad? To bless you out quick.) argued with Kitchens a bit on stand. (Reading statement… have you seen them get into it when Becky gets mad and loses her temper?) One time. (More than once, the statement asks. You answer, with her mother, yes.) Did I say that?
(Are you aware that Brooke went to live with her grandma?) Yes. (Aware of why she did?) Part of it. Because Jane wanted Brooke. (That’s what you think answer is. Here’s what I want to know… do you know about her drug use?) I know her mother gave her drugs. (Know about Becky’s drug use?) A whole lot I didn’ tknow. (Cocaine?) I can’t answer this – yes, but I have to elaborate. (Knew it?) Yes. I guess it was cocaine. (Not the reason Brooke was taken from her mother?) Jane talked her into going to a rehab and checking herself in. (Was that a good thing?) I guess it is, if you get hounded about it. (Wouldn’t that be a good thing, to get off drugs?) Yes, that would be a good thing,but you don’t let me finish my answers. (You’ll get a chance to do that in just a minute.) (Do you think Jane took good care of Brooke?) Most of the time.
(Remember that your wife was involved with the case where Brooke was taken from Becky and gave a statement?) No. (You don’t know your wife felt like Jane was best for Brooke?) No, I didn’t. I was working away from home a lot and a lot I didn’t know about. (Were you in the house May 11, 2010 when the gunshots were fired?) No. (Don’t know what happened there that day?) No.
(Show him statement one more time. Question – you had seen Becky flare up quickly… you said “yes.”) Because person who asked it did not say Becky Jones, he said Ms. Jones – thought he was talking about Jane. I told him to use first names. (Question before … about her being booked into jail … has Jane ever been in jail?) Yes, being drunk in Tennessee. (Post-trauma stress?) That was talking about Becky Jones. (You thought DA was jumping around?) Yes. (Oh, OK.)
(Mr. Arnold, you said that you and Jane had a disagreement over the land?) But it was overwith? (Did you shoot Ms. Jones?) No. Not that much of a disagrement.
LAHER – RE-DIRECT 4:32
(MR. ARNOLD – you were asked about things a decade ago.) Yes 10 or 15. (Anything back then change what you told jury today?) Yes, changed a lot. She moved away from Jane. She became a whole lot better person. (Who you were expecting that evening?) Yes, one I was expecting that evening because she had got away from her mama.
That’s all, your honor. KITCHENS – We may recall him.
JUDGE – All parties agree to call it a day. I think we’ve covered a lot of ground. Do not watch or read reports about this case, etc. Not yet time to discuss. Start at 9 a.m. Thursday. We’ll be working on jury instructions now and not waste your time tomorrow.
Don’t know if we will finish, but looks like at least Friday. We’ll see how it goes.
BOONEVILLE – Judge Jim Seth Pounds declined to acquit Rebecca “Becky” Jones on a defense motion after the state ended its murder case this afternoon.
Just moments before, the court and jury heard a somber E911 tape from dying Jane Jones, who told the dispatcher, “My daughter shot me … please send help.”
The state rested just before 3 p.m. for the trial that began Tuesday morning with lengthy jury selection.
Becky Jones, 49, is accused of fatally shooting her mother at Jane Jones’ Prentiss County home May 11, 2010.
This is her second trial for murder – last fall Judge Jim Seth Pounds declared a mistrial on the third day when her defense attorney announced she was hospitalized in a coma of unknown causes.
• • •
(Below is a running account from Wednesday afternoon’s proceedings. Please excuse the typos and glitches likely as I type rapidly.)
2:13 P.M. – Judge returns. Tells attorneys to clean up 911 tape transcript before we read it.
STATE CALLS BETTY ROBINSON (Kitchens to question)
ROBINSON – Ronald Michael law office, legal assistant. 10-11 years. Paralegal 45 years. Knew Jane Jones across many years. Knew Becky, too. (She’s a little emotional on the stand.)
(Kitchens – relationship between Becky and Jane?) They loved each other but bickered back and forth. (Did Jane love BEcky?) Yes. (Any question?) No, Jane loved Becky. (Ever heard her talk bad about Becky? Or act ugly to defendant?) No ma’am. (Aware of Becky’s troubles?) Had a drug problem. (What did it do to Jane Jones and her relationship?) Jane was worried about Becky, did everything under sun to get her to straighten up. Drug problems went on for years. Just years. (Did Jane have to make tough decisions for her family?) Yes. She had to go to court and get custody of her granddaughter, Becky’s daughter, because BEcky couldn’t provide a home for her. Because Becky was on drugs.
(Did Jane Jones hate her daughter?) Wanted to give Brooke a home to be raised up in. (Did Jane ask you to prepare a deed for her?) Yes, first in 1989, I think. (Exhibit) Warranty deed from Becky to Jane, 1989. (When property deeded, time when Becky had drug issues?) Yes. (Hands deed to the jury.)
(Look at deed again. Who gives the property?) Becky Jones to Jane Jones. (Did you notarize signatures?) Yes. (Did she do so freely and voluntarily?) Yes. (Property remained in Jane Jones’ hands?) Yes. (Jane asked for another deed?) Yes. (Land?) She had a new survey done. Old property was part of this new deed. Contacted probably middle of April. Jane was selling part of her property. Not to Becky. (When drafted the deed?) Toward end of April 2010. (Did Jane ever signed?) No, killed before she could sign it …. getting emotional.
2:25 – LAHER TO CROSS EXAMINE
(LAHER – NO QUESTIONS
STATE CALLS LISA DIALLO (Kitchens to question)
DIALLO – Lee County chancery clerk’s office. Deputy clerk. Record court records. 25 years there. Records include deeds, judge’s decrees etc.
(Kitchens – Shows her a record. What is it?) Decree of custody to Jane Jones. Chancery Court. Rebecca Jones, the defendant. Jane Jones filed a petition for custody against Rebecca Jones. Trying to get custody of Brooke Creech. (Says child’s father do?) Father jointly petitions with Jane Jones… he agrees for her to have custody. (Defendant did what?) Served to appear in court, get legal counsel. (Was guardian ad litem appointed?) Yes, guardian for the child and report to the court. In this case, found in best interests of Brooke Creech to live with her grandmother. Court says defendant was not fit to retain custody.
(Is this the order from Lee County?) Yes. (Signed?) Judge Talmadge Littlejohn September 2003.
LAHER – CROSS EXAMINATION 2:32
(Laher – Haven’t read this for a while?) Yes. (Reads part of order) Says Becky Jones joined in with the petitioner. (Means she agrees?) Yes. (2003?) Yes. (Do you know any of these people?) No. (Any opinions about this?) No.
(KITCHENS – originally, did defendant …. a few days before … OBJECTION – LEADING. JUDGE AGREES) (How many days before court did she file to join in the petition?) Looks like 8, on Sept. 22, 2003. (No matter what defendant signed, the court found what?) In favor of Jane Jones. (Why?) Said defendant not capable of taking care of the minor child.
WITNESS EXCUSED 2:36 P.M.
STATE CALLS MELISSA AMMON
AMMON – 911 dispatcher in Prentiss County. Talks about her duties, experience etc. Working 11-plus years. Keeps records of all calls. Written plus recordings. A log kept.
(Kitchens – exhibit) Recording log May 11, 2010. (Look at the log. True/accurate copy?) yes. (Receive 911 call that day 5:47 p.m.?) Yes, from Jane Jones. On log sheet. I hae written that Becky Jones had shot Jane Jones twice, in stomach and arm. Left in a black car with Alabama tag. From jane Jones. (What do you do then?) Get all info we can from caller. Remain on phone with caller, if possible (Did you?) Yes. (Any other 911 calls that day from anyone else about Jane JOnes?) No ma’am. (Look closely?) That’s correct. Messages to Prentiss Sheriff and Corinth helicopter.
(Did you keep a recording from that call?) Yes, we did. (Kitchens prepares to play 911 recording. First, jury gets copies of the transcript.) Ammon validates CD is of that call. (Listened to the CD?) Yes, true and accurate copy. (Kitchens – transcripts of that call. OK to give to jury, judge says. Laher has no objection.)
JUDGE – Says transcript is only for help to follow the conversation. But only evidence that counts is the recording, the primary evidence. If transcript is incorrect, disregard the transcript to that extent. Give them copies.
(Kitchens – waits for jury to get copies of transcript. Also one for judge.)
911 TAPE – (Will try to keep up with it… patsy) May 11, 2010 – 17:47 time. Emergency? / Do you need an ambulance? / OK – she shot me / Who? My daughter/ Still there – yes. (Ammon relays message to law enforcement.) Mrs. Jones, I’m going to give you some help. Where is your daughter? / She shot me in the stomach and arm. / Went out to the carport. / 439 Hwy 4 East / Key in carport / In a box on stand in carport / Ambulance on the way. Where’s she at? Daughter’s name, rachel? / Becky – she left / Vehicle? / I don’t know, Alabama tag. / Shot twice once stomach and arm – I was telling the ambulance. / Sure she left? / Not sure. / Went out the door? / Yes. / Vehicle? / Black Chevrolet car / Please hurry. / We’re getting there quick as we can. / What kind of gun? / Pistol – possibly 38 pistol / I’ll get you help on the way. / Please hurry. / Mrs. Jones, you still with me / (Pause) Yes. / OK / (mumbling talk by Jones) / You there? / Ma’am? / (Ambulance arrives. Been shot twice?) Looks like under arm. / END OF CALL
KITCHENS – NO QUESTIONS. LAHER – NO QUESTIONS 2:57 P.M.
AMMON EXCUSED (Woman in audience weeping.)
WISE – STATE RESTS 2:59 P.M.
JUDGE – Defense will begin, if they so desire. Let’s take a break, about 20 minutes.
* * *
1:50 P.M. POST
BOONEVILLE – A Nashville pathologist said Jane Jones died of a gunshot wound to her abdomen, although she lacked some measurements the defense asked about.
Dr. Amy McMasters Hawers said Jones lacked gunshot residue stipling on her body either because clothing blocked its presence or the wounding weapon was “more than a few feet away.”
Also testifying was Dr. Newt Harrison of Tupelo, a general surgeon who attempted to treat a near-death Jones when she was brought by ambulance to North Mississippi Medical Center on May 11, 2010.
• • •
(Below is a running account from Wednesday afternoon’s proceedings. Please excuse the typos and glitches likely as I type rapidly.)
1:00 P.M. – STATE CALLS DR. NEWT HARRISON (KITCHENS TO QUESTION)
HARRISON – Tupelo surgeon, almost nine years. General surgeon. Cites his educational and medical background, training. Board Certified in general surgery.
(Kitchens – rendered medical care to Jane Jones, May 11, 2010?) Yes. Make medical reports. (Shows him exhibit) My notes from seeing Jane Jones in emergency room. 5/11/2010 – at NMMC. (Want to check your notes?) Yes. Jones arrived with heart electrical activity but no blood – came by ambulance. She was in trauma. Gunshot wound to abdomen, another to right arm. (Check notes about injury sites.) GSW right arm through and through, and GSW under her belly button and exited out back. Don’t think bullets were still in there. She was in critical condition. No blood pressure, no pulse. Was not conscious. Heart was not beating.
(Injuries … what happened to her while she was in the hospital, per your care?) We did chest compressions, put a central cath in her neck, fst exam with ultrasound to abdomen checking for blood, looked at heart. A good bit of blood in her abdomen. No activity in her heart. (Condition?) She had basically died and we were trying to get her back. (End of it?) Once continued lack of heart activity … that’s it. Dead at 19:46 p.m. (Cause of her death?) GSW to abdomen.
LAHER – NO QUESTIONS / HARRISON EXCUSED 1:15
STATE ALLS DR. AMY MCMASTERS HAWERS (Got married since previous testimony.) Kitchens to question her.
HAWERS – Forensic pathologist. Recited education, training, medical background. Board certified in various pathologies. Works as chief medical examiner in Nashville. Employed in same office since 2002. Investigates suspicious or unnatural circumstance deaths. Designated as expert in forensic pathologist.
(Autopsy – to determine cause and manner of death?) Yes. Describes for jury what cause of death can be and manner. Says may need toxicology tests. Manner involves circumstances of the death. (Asks for examples of those.) Cause is what leads to the death – heart attack, gunshot wound. Manner goes from natural and accident to homicide and suicide.
(At MS office in 2010?) Yes. Employee of a private company that contracts its services. At that time, MS medical examiner left and our company was asked to conduct autopsies until state got a replacement. (Conducted Jane Jones’ autopsy?) Yes.
(Exhibits) Copy of final autopsy report and anatomical analysis. Autopsy 5/12/2010. Jane Jones. (Exhibit – photos) Photos of Ms. Jane Jones in various stages of her autopsy. (Give you time to look at report. How know body was Jones?) She had ID form with that name on it. Age – 66, female, white. (Examine her?) Yes, I did. Explain photos to jury. (Kitchens begins to show autopsy photos to the jury. They look very intently at first “as is” photo. Kitchens says she has multiple photos.) Hawers describes what each photo is. Last one is of abdomen GSW to Ms. Jones.
(Findings about Jane Jones?) Had GSW to abdomen. Entrance on abdomen, exit wound on her back. Traveled through her body. Cited injuries bullet caused. Complex GSW in upper arm and chest.. entered, exited, re-entered and exited again. Also abrasion on her chin. (Arm injury?) Could not determine which direction it went. (Graze under her chin, could it be a GSW?) Yes.
(Did you look for stipling?) Gunpowder stipling may see on skin associated with GSW. Like little dots from a pencil. When gun fired, unburnt powder comes out the gun. It scratches the skin and leaves those dots. (Per abdomen, stipling there?) No. (Why not?) Most common: gun held a couple of feet away, because residue can’t travel that far. Other, something in between gun and skin when it was fired, like clothing. (Abdomen shot, clothing between. Stipling on shirt?) Yes, on shirt.
(Second wound, to arm. Stipling?) No. (If no shirt, what would be reason for no stipling?) Probably, gun was more than a couple of feet away. (Neck wound?) No stipling. (Why not?) Gun probably more than a couple of feet away when it was fired.
(What about manner of death?) Homicide. Death at hands of another person.
LAHER – 1:34 P.M.
(Did you have the firearm available to you?) No. (Able to do any ballistics testing on it?) I don’t do ballistics testing. Others employed by State Medical Examiner to do that. (EArlier said an opinion about distance between a shot and a wound without stipling. Said it was a “ballpark” figure?) Yes. (Condition of the firearm matters, cartridge, power load, etc matter?) Yes. (These variants?) Not my job as medical examiner to determine. I don’t know.
(Did anyone in your office test this firearm?) I am not in a position to answer that. (You were not present when this happened?) Obviously not. (Were you aware of anything about distance between gun and Jane Jones?) No.
(As forensic pathologist, when you determine manner, you said homicide. Doesn’t encompass legalities?) No. (Doesn’t include self-defense or accidental?) No, that’s outside my area of expertise. (So when prosecution asks, you can give opinion about manner?) That’s right. (But not as a juror… so it may not encompass legal issues a jury must consider?) Yes sir.
(Believe you said no projectiles/bullets still in her body?) Right. (They exited her body?) Yes. (Can you tell about trajectory?) If bullet exits, it’s obviously somewhere else. I’m not an investigator. (Measured her?) 63 inches tall. (Her arms?) Didn’t measure her arms. Couldn’t tell if arm injury was going to the right or left. Going more to the side. (When you do this stipling determination, is it from muzzle to the wound?) Yes. (Arm wound, don’t know distance from this point on her body and the end of her hand?) No, not a typical measurement I would make.
(Examination of abdomen wound, any measurement of circumference of her waist?) No. (Couldn’t tell if she were on her side … how far her abdomen was off the floor?) No.
1:44 – KITCHENS TO RE-DIRECT
(Kitchens – you are a pathologist?) Yes. (A crime scene investigator?) No, I am not. My goal is to determine cause of death and manner of death. (Do you test guns?) I do not.
WITNESS EXCUSED 1:47
JUDGE – Everything moving along quickly. Let’s take a 15-minute break
• • •
BOONEVILLE – Jane Jones’ brother, Jimmy Hicks, said his sister and her daughter loved each other despite their rocky relationship.
However, in the end, he admitted defendant Rebecca “Becky” Jones still blamed her mother for her most serious problems.
(Below is more running account from today’s trial. Please excuse the typos and glitches likely as I type rapidly. It’s also very difficult to hear, especially attorney Rob Laher, so I will try to correct errors, if I should mistakenly type what I think I have heard and later learn it was something else. Thanks for your patience.)
• • •
11:14 – JUDGE BACK. Cautions spectators to remain in seats until breaks. Jury returns
STATE CALLS JIMMY HICKS to the stand.
HICKS – (Wise to question) Lives in Booneville. Jane Jones is his sister. Becky is his niece. Becky living in Lexington, Ala. Their relationship – always kind of rocky. Jane would complain about defendant, vice versa. (Ws Jane physical with defendant?) No sir. (Jane physical with anyone?) No. (Know Brooke Creech?) My great-niece. Defeendant’s daughter. Good relationship. (Did Jane have custody of Brook?) Yes. At that time, Becky was sick. (What mean?) She had a problem with prescription drugs. (Property defendant owned attached to Jane’s?) Mount Pisgah Road in Prentiss County. In Jane’s name. Defendant considered it her property. She deeded it to her mother because she was sick and trying to get her disability. ARgued over the property. They would call me about property. They argued when Jane planned to sell it. Defendant still thought it was hers.
(When was she going to sell it?) Just prior to her death. (Sale date?) About three weeks from that time. She was killed before the sale. (Found out death?) Great niece called and told me. I left to go to her house. When arrived. authorities were there, roped off. Deputy told me to go to the hospital. Left and went there, in Booneville. (Condition?) Very critical. Left that hospital when they transported her to Tupelo. (Condition?) She was very critical and wasn’t long that doctor told us she didn’t make it. (Other family?) Some cousins, my son. (Brooke at either/) No. (Billy Joe Arnold?) Don’t remember. (How she died?) Gunshot.
(After Jane’s death, contact defendant?) I did. A few weeks later. At Prentiss County Jail. I love my niece and wanted to see her. Still love her. (Did she tell you what happened?) We talked, we embraced and we cried. WE talked, she said I killed my mother. (Accident?) No sir. (Did she say struggle?) No sir (Did she say she tried to get her mother help?) NO sir. She told me that her mother had took her land, her daughter and now had taken her life. (Remorse?) Not about that. (Take full responsibility?) Yes, she said I killed my Mama.
CROSS EXAMINATION BY LAHER 11:23
HICKS – Becky had sister, Debra. Jane was married then divorced. (Debra’s death? She got run over?) Yes. (Years later, you moved in with Jane?) Yes. (Observed how she and Becky dealth with each other?) Yes. (Rocky relationship?) Yes. Up and down. Some days good, some days bad. (Observation … everybody always upset about Debra?) Yes. (But your sister, difficult?) Yes. (Becky, loss of sister?) Yes. (Both of these women have complained that the other didn’t love her?) Yes. (As the middle person, each woman wanted something from other that the other couldn’t give?) Yes. (Began when Debra died?) I guess it did.
(You cared about both of them?) I did. (Complaints went both ways?) Yes. (Becky had problems? Drugs?) Yes. (Maintaining her daughter?) Yes. (Financial?) I’m not sure about that. (As long as she was in Mississippi, she remained close to her mother?) Yes, she lived on that Pisgah Road. (At some point Becky moved to Alabama?) Right. (When she moved, her life improved dramatically?) Yes. (Got away from her mother?) Yes. (Left prescription drugs behind, good relationship?) To my knowledge.
(Knowing Jane, did she expect people to behave a certain way?) A certain way? (Threaten people with her will?) Don’t know about threaten. She’d say, I’ll change my will. I guess. (If someone wasn’t suiting her, she threatened to change her will?) Yes. (Through the will, Jane wanted people to do as she wanted?) Yes. (Weren’t there every day in Jane’s home?) No. (Or when she raised Brooke?) No. (Don’t know about what happened physically?) No.
(She raised Brooke when got custody?) Yes. (Then that relationship went bad?) About her senior year. (Brooke left her?) Yes. (Know particulars?) Probably because she wanted to get out from under Jane. She had scratched Jane. (Don’t know what Jane had done to her?) No. Just seen results of scratches on Jane.
(Questions about the property .. do you know its value?) No. (Not talking about great value?) No. (Becky got land from her father?) In Pontotoc? I heard something about that. (She was doing fine financially in Alabama?) To my knowledge. (Seemed to be doing well away from her mother?) Yes. (She was different?) Yes. (Each one of these ladies knew that the other talked to you?) Yes, they knew. (When this property sale was proposed … or before .. another property dispute. Jane felt she was done wrong?) She thought some timber had been cut. She came to me and told me. (Before Pisgah property, she told you what she planned?) Yes. (Weeks before shooting?) Yes. (Hadn’t seen Becky in a while?) Not sure. (Last time you knew was when Becky got Brooke to allow Jane to see her grandchild, intervened for Jane?) Yes.
(After Jane told you about this property …?) I thought Becky knew. (Did you see the contract?) No. (You participated in negotiations?) No. Jane said to sell to guy renting on the property. Heard afterwards he’d gone to a bank.
(Prior to your seeing Becky, how long?) Couple of weeks… after sister died. (Know what it’s like in the jail?) No. (How it might affect someone?) No. (Went to visit her?) I did. (During visit … you said it was emotional?) It was. (Y’all cried?) We did. (You said she said daughter, land, life taken.) Yes. (Know what was said at the scene?) No. (She showed no remorse?) Right. (She’d been in jail for several weeks?) I felt like I’d lost two members of my family. (Didn’t get into specifics about what happened?) No sir. (Did she offer excuses?) Only told me she took my daughter, my property and my life.
(She accepted responsibility?) Yes. (Because she had her gun that day?) Yes. (She didn’t try to excuse what happened?) No, we didn’t talk about that. She said I killed my Mama. (Don’t know what happened that day?) No. (Struggle?) Don’t know. (She could have told you anything … she may not have shed a tear, but she didn’t try to make an excuse, did she?) No. (In a weird way, they loved each other?) Yes.
(Becky came back again and again looking for that love?) Yes, they both did.
WISE TO RE-DIRECT 11:45
HICKS – (Wise – after defendant moved to Ala., did they still argue?) Yes. (Was Jane upset about Mother’s Day that year?) She was. Sunday before she was killed. (Just days before?) Yes. (Why?) I called her to wish her happy mother’s day. She said I was the first one to call her – not Becky or Brooke. Still had their problems. (Defendant caused her sister lots of problems?) OBJECTION – LEADING. SUSTAINED.
(Know value of Mount Pisgah land?) No. (Did Becky get upset about its sale?) Yes. (Laher talked about responsibility … when you visited with Becky..) She said I killed my Mama. (Did she say why?) No. (Your statement of Oct. 20, 2010 – read sentence for jury?) OBJECTION – Wise said brought out on cross. JUDGE – ALLOW ..
HICKS – Said she took my child, my land and now she has taken my freedom. (We’re talking responsibility, even after her other’s death… still blamed her mother, even after she killed her?) Yes.
WITNESS EXCUSED 11:49 a.m. / Wise says good time to break for lunch.
JUDGE – Return by 1 p.m.
• • •
BOONEVILLE – Three witnesses told a jury today what they knew from their investigations into the May 2010 shooting death of Jane Jones at her home on Highway 4 East of Booneville.
Her daughter, Becky, is on trial charged with her murder.
• • •
(Below is a running account of courtroom events so far today. Please excuse the typos and glitches likely as I type rapidly.)
8:35 – Josh Wise, prosecutor, calls Deputy Roy Reagan.
REAGAN – 11 years law enforcement. Lead investigator in Jones case. REsponded to 911 call on May 11, 2010. 439 Highway 4 East. Had been a shooting. Jane Jones and her daughter. Understood daughter had shot mother. Suspect was REbecca Jones.
(At shooting scene) Police car, ambulance there. Rebecca Jones in patrol car. I went into house to secure the scene and saw them working on Jane Jones. Lying on floor. No clothes on. Right arm over her head, wound under right arm. She had been shot, two times. Defendant was in the car, appeared to be OK. Identifies her in courtroom.
Took photographs, picked up items in the floor, blankets laying there. Confirmed suspect taken into custody. (Other evidence?) 38 caliber pistol laying on couch. (Bullets?) Inside gun, two shots fired. Ms. Jones shot two times. (Gun?) Laying on couch with hammer cocked back on it. (After took items into custody?) Took gun and bullets inside to MS Crime Lab. (Anything else?) Her shirt to Crime Lab. (For testing?) Yes sir. (Conduct gunshot residue test?) Yes sir.
(Took photos?) Yes. (Evidence of struggle inside the home?) No sir. (Another photo?) 38 caliber pistol I found. Rebecca Jones’. In Jane Jones’ residence. Gun hammer cocked back. (Another photo) Car with Alabama tags. (Photo) Blood drops on floor at Jane Jones’ residence. (Photo) Pistol with hammer cocked back. In Jane Jones’ residence. (Photo) No evidence of struggle in home. Nothing in photo. (Photo) No evidence of a struggle. (Gives photos to the jury.)
(Deputy checks gun to make sure it’s unloaded and secure.)
Rebecca Jones’ gun – she told me so. 38 caliber pistol, found at the residence. Gun can fire 2 ways – single action or double-action if you pull hammer back and pull the trigger. (what is this?) fired cartridge I pulled from gun May 11, 2010. Found in the gun. Two shells fired. Two shots fired. Jones shot two times.
(Next exhibit) These are three bullets that wasn’t fired, that I took from the gun. In the gun. (Not fired?) Not fired. (One of those has been fired?) Sent gun to Crime Lab and had them shoot one for ballistics. (Exhibits) Spent bullets. Shirt Jane Jones wearing May 11, 2010. Processed into evidence. Sent to Crime Lab. (Sent?) Gun, bullets, shirt and GSR.
(Interview defendant about death of her mother?) Yes, Sheriff, one other. Next day, May 12, 2010. (Scrapes on her body?) No. (Cuts on her?) No. (Bruises?) No. (Other evidence on defendant to indicate struggle?) No sir. (Charges brough?) Yes sir. OBJECT – SHE’S BEEN INDICTED. JUDGE – HOW IS IT RELEVANT? JOSH – IS THAT THE DEFENDANT? REAGAN – YES.
8:56 – LAHER to cross-examine Reagan.
REAGAN – (Laher picks up photos from jury box.) (Asks him to pick up gun, about double-action.) Reagan stands up, points gun toward the wall. Fires once, then cocks hammer back. (When you arrived a Jones house, black vehicle in driveway?) Yes. (Did your investigate find anyone in vehicle?) No. (Entered residence … make a diagram of the home?) Later, we went back and drew up a diagram. (Shows him exhibit.) No. (Not one you drew up?) No sir. Previous DA had us draw it up. Can’t recall who went out and drew it up. (Is it accurate of layout?) …. Reagan taking his time looking at it … Not accurate … (Not accurate? You didn’t draw it?) Guy went there later on. Drew it here. I didn’t help draw it. (What about one you drew?) We have it in the files.. I didn’t draw one up. (You didn’t?) No, I didn’t. Someone went out at later date and drew up. I don’t know how accurate it is. (Not an accurate diagram from you?) No. Not on May 11, 2010 (Day after?) No sir.
(As lead investigator, you don’t have accurate diagram?) No sir. (After call to the home, did you know Becky Jones before?) Not personally. Had had some dealings with her when a patrol officer, but didn’t know her. Long time ago. (Time spent with either?) No sir. Didn’t know their personalities, truthful. (After left scene, sent items to Lab, interviewed Ms. Jones?) Yes sir. Took statement from her.
(At time of statement, did she have a lawyer?) No sir. (In custody since shooting?) Yes. (No talk with counsel?) NO sir. (So you, sheriff were probably first people she talked to about what happened?) Yes. (Read her rights?) Yes. (She volunteered to speak?) Yes sir. (Statement describes events of that day … some detail?) Yes. Two rounds fired that day. Three spent shells. (Later, you found bullet that was one of the shots?) Yes. (Said when you went back, retrieved it.) Yes. (We don’t have diagram, but what if I drew something up, could you say if it’s right?) Yes.
(Laher puts up large white board. … audience can’t see it.) (If you want to look at photos, that might help.) OK. (You entered from carport … here’s driveway, car garage here, door here. You enter … take right and got kitchen to the left. Look at photo – this area right in here is like … we got couch, appears to be a chair here?) Yes. (Then coffee table, as you come around corner, there’s a table here?) Right. (This area … then front door. Over here, we’ve got … right?) Looks OK. (Laher shows him where he walked that day … into this area right here. Ms. Jones was by the front door?) Reagan corrects him slightly … (You came through here, saw Ms. Jones lying about here?) On right side of that other chair. (Closer to front door?) Yes sir. (About here?) Yes.
(Later on, not that day, you found that bullet hole.) In the wall, behind the first desk … (You told me that hole was about 12 inches off ground?) I said I didn’t know. (When you went through scene later … found the hole. You didn’t measure from ground how high?) No I didn’t. (No photo?) No, I didn’t. (Somewhere 12-24 inches, you don’t know?) I don’t.
(Shows him photo.) (In middle? … clear glass on outside?) Yes. (Showing 2 photos to jury.) (We have got now … at white board … you photographed the glass of the front door, broken?) Yes sir. (You weren’t there?) No. (Could have been a bullet hole?) Yes. (Bullet hole was at top of door?) Yes, at top. (Bullet hole you found, though, was days later, was not tall?) No. (Lower to ground?) Wasn’t real low, up a little bit. (Better if we had a photo and tape measure?) Would help.
(For our purposes today, was it closer to 12 or 24 inches?) Up higher than what you said. You said 12, or 2 feet. I said I didn’t know. (OK. Lower than the door, right?) I don’t … (Now, Roy, you got a door?) Oh, yeh, lower. OBJECTION – Let’s move.
(Alleged bullet hole in glass door and near compjuter … consistent with our two shots?) I don’t know if door glass was from a bullet hole. (I know, but they appeared to come from inside out?) Two shots fired, I don’t know where one went or another. (We’ve got that. Now, Mr. Wise asked you about signs of struggle. Granted you didn’t see nicknacks on floor, ashtrays…?) Right. (Photo, hands him. If I put my blanket here, and another here, does that look accurate?) Yes. (In statement from Becky, she never said struggled over gun?) No. (This area … between these chairs and this computer.. as your photo shows, is the walkway to the door?) Yes. (We don’t have anything in that walkway, do we?) No. (Photograph Ms. Jones?) She didn’t have clothes on, so I had Tammy photograph her. (Did you see Ms. Jones, shot?) Yes.
(Photo. Mrs. Jones?) Yes. (Shows a wound coming across … chest here?) Yes. (Other photo … Ms. Jones?) Correct. (Is this part of my body … under arm pit … higher than waist?) Yes. (Only account for two shots?) Correct. One did go through wall, I don’t know about no shot going through the glass. (Photos … when you question somebody, want to understand what they say happened. Better understanding of their side?) Yes. (In this case, she told you tkat first shot, to her recollection … while they were struggling over this gun?) Uh….. (what she told you… first …shot occurred while struggling and standing?) Correct. (Second shot,, she said … while they were falling to the floor?) Yes.
(If we had the photo of the hole in the wall, we could look and see if they were falling, that might be accurate? Couldn’t it?) No. No evidence of a struggle. (If we had this picture and could measure hole in the wall, we could look at that a say that makes sense?) JOSH – OBJECTION SPECULATION. JUDGE – Let him testify about what he knows.
(Evidence of a bullet hole in the computer room hall, which you didn’t measure … was lower than that glass, right?) Yes, lower to the glass. (In fact … you said earlier you didn’t measure it?) I was there to … (You said earlier in October 2012 … looking at his testimony … about photo of the wall, hole low? He said, yes it was. You said that then. Earlier when we talked about this, you said the hole was relatively low to the ground?) I said that, yes. (Question – low? Answer?) reading … ABout 12 inches up.
(Understand … earlier, remember, you did measure? You said, I measured it.) I don’t know… reading… maybe 12 inches. (You did measure it?) I didn’t. (Why did you say you did? Were you lying?) I didn’t measure it. (Did you not understand my question?) You asked if was 12 inches, 2 feet? OBJECTION – ASKED AND ASWERED. SUSTAINED.
JUDGE – Is it in there, Mr. Laher?
REAGAN – …. JUDGE – No, asked and answered. (LAHER, anyway you don’t have a photograph?) No. (On prior day you said 12 inches?) No I didn’t. I didn’t know.
JUDGE – Move along.
(Laher – items to Crime Lab. A shirt.?) Yes sir. (Sent for gunshot, ballistic comparisons? Distance? Is that all? You have read the report?) Yes sir. (What says about this shirt? How far away the gun was?) Yes sir. (With that information and face that you learned about the various holes … those things…) …can’t tell what Reagan is saying … (Laher presses him about what gunshots say?) OBJECTON – SUSTAINED.
(Second shot, she said they were on the ground?) On ground. (Got bullet hole from a small distance off ground?) Yes, I don’t know how high it was. (Said Small distance?) JUDGE – COUNSEL APPROACH.
(LAHER – We both know what Crime Lab said about this shirt … what about gun to Crime Lab?) … Reagan takes gun out …. (Had gun ever since it came back from Crime Lab?) I didn, except … (Laher asks about gun or guns… hard to hear what they’re saying.) (Becky told you she had a gun?) Yes. (You had to believe her to make that assumption?) She said had gun and laid in on the couch. (What else did she say? Struggle?) That’s what she said. (First she told you she had and you believed it?)Yes, had it. (Then struggle?) She said that … didn’t chose not to believe it, didn’t find any evidence to believe it. (Found blankets on floor…) Found clothes on floor. (Struggle …?) You gotta to walk by table. OBJECTION – OVER AND OVER. JUDGE – LET’S MOVE ON.
(Laher – … ) I found clothes, shoes, socks. (You’re saying … ) No fingerprints because no evidence Jane Jones had gun. I didn’t see it. (D you realize … didn’t you double-check. Didn’t ask for fingerprints?) No, I didn’t. No evidence of struggle. (SHOUTING). JUDGE – COUNSEL …. gives jury a break. 9:40
JUDGE – LAHER, I’M warning you … won’t allow this trial to be … to conduct this trial in this manner. Be courteous. Don’t push this court. I will hold you in contempt. Do you ahve any questions (No your honor.) WISE – Object, confusing the jury. They are repetitive.
RECESS – 9:42
9:59 – JUDGE BACK. Jury returns.
JOSH WISE TO QUESTION – (Asks him if he recalls a TV stand in the living room?) I don’t recall. (What about a table?) I don’t know. (A cabinet?) Yes. (When you arrived, were medical personnel there?) Yes. (Ms. Jones on stretcher?) Lift board. (What can change the direction of a bullet?) It can go all different ways? (Can a bullet his a bone or object and change direction?) Yes it can. (Can it remain in a person’s body?) Yes. (So, you don’t know angle bullets fired that day?) No I don’t.
(You were present for defendant’s statement?) Yes. (Who did she say brought gun to her mother’s home?) Defendant (Who pulled gun out?) Rebecca Jones. (Who had it prior to shots fired?) She did. (Who had gun after shots fired?) She did, she told me. (Also tell you she went there to “get some things off her chest?) Yes. (Did she ever say her mother had possession of her gun?) No.
(During interview, did she ever say she was sorry mother died?) No. (Any remorse forher death?) No. (Did you investigation reveal defendant did anything to get her mother help that day?) No. (Did she do anything to get help?) No. (Jane Jones shot?) Two times. In her own home. OBJECITON – ASKED AND ANSWERED.
(Wise – ever found evidence of a struggle?) OBJECTION – I’LL ALLOW IT ONE MORE TIME. (Ever found evidence of a struggle?) No. (Truthful testimony?) Yes. OBJECTION – OVERRULED.
JUDGE – You may be called back. Reagan leaves stand.
10:05 – STATE CALLS FELICIA ROBINSON
ROBINSON – MS Crime Lab, forensic scientist specializing in firearms and tool-mark examinations. Compares ammunition with firearms. Other things related to guns. Employed since Nov 2008. Talks about other experience in the field, education, training.
(Wise – exhibit to her) Copy of her resume. Speaks briefly about what it shows. Examined thousands of firearms, she says. Wise – asks her to be tendered as an expert. Laher has no objections.
(Evidence received regarding death of Jane Jones?) I did. (Hands her exhibit – gun) Identifies gun, revolver. Checks it for safety. Received from Prentiss County Sheriff’s Department. Performed tests on it. (Exhibit?) Two cartridge cases with Crime Lab markings. Fired. Tested them. (Exhibit) Bag with cartridges. Not fired before got to Crime Lab. Yes, fired one … test-fired … into a water tank. Then check projectile for comparison purposes. (Exhibit) Tested projectile. (Exhibit) White shirt and sealed envelope with test pattern in it. Received from Prentiss SD.
(What tests performed?) Compared test-fired bullet to others. She explains how she conducts comparisons on bullets and guns. Markings left behind. Compare under microscope. To determine if bullets/cartridges fired in a gun. (Result?) Conducted comparison on Jones gun. Report says tested bullets were fired by the gun sent by PCSD.
(Asked to do distance-range comparison?) Yes. … how far muzzle of gun was from a garment. Conducted test. (In this case?) Yes. Results – GSR pattern greater than contact but less than 9 inches. (Did you know she was shot twice?) No, I did not. (What about contact with skin?) No, didn’t do that testing. Don’t know about other shot. (Tested gun – functional reliability exam?) That gun functions as it’s designed to do. Gun fires single or double action. She demonstrates how it fires single action. Cock trigger manually and fire. (Pressure to discharge single action?) Greater than 5 pounds of pressure. (Double?) 15-17 pounds of pressure on trigger. (In this case, was gun properly functioning?) Yes.
(Final report?) Gun – found was discharged and performing normally. (When fired it, does hammer automatically cock?) No. Must be cocked manually. (Probable that gun was fired twice without pressure on the trigger?) OBJECTION – laher says asking about what may or may not occur. JUDG E- ALLOW IT
(Based on testing, is it probable that gun fired twice without pressure on the trigger?) No. Must cock and apply more than 5 pounds pressure to fire once, more to fire twice.
10:26 – LAHER to cross-examine
ROBINSON – (Laher asks about distance determination. He shows her Jones’ shirt. Say distance pattern ) Greater than contact but less than 9 inches.
(Asks her about single and double action of pistol. Either way it work?) Yes.
(WISE – Tested other bullet?) No, only garment. (If other bullet made direct contact with her skin, you wouldn’t make test about distance?) No, that’s handled by a medical examiner. Don’t know how far other bullet was shot. No knowledge of that?
WITNESS DISMISSED 10:32
ATTORNEYS SPEAK WITH JUDGE AT BENCH.
(More than a dozen people in audience)
STATE CALLS SHERIFF RANDY TOLAR – WISE QUESTIONS
TOLAR – Prentiss sheriff 13 years, 2 months. In law enforcement 33 years. Sheriff on May 11, 2010. Got a call about shooting, airlifted the victim and didn’t look like she was going to make it. Brief synopsis about what happened. Next morning, I participated in the interview of Becky Jones about death of her mother. Also present, Deputy Roy Reagan and another deputy. ADvised of Miranda rights, signed waiver of her rights. Statement given freely and voluntarily.
(Wise – exhibit) Typed statement by Becky Jones on May 12, 2010. Signed by her, me. Given during interview. (How was defendant emotionally?) Initially thought it would be traumatic. One reasons asked for Deputy People to come in, he’s a preacher in case she got too emotional. Brought her to jail, she didn’t know mother passed away. Reagan came in. At that point, she was not emotional. (Relationship to dead?) Mother and daughter. (Do you now about their relationship?) Been dealing with them for years. Very volatile. Considered both friends. (Did Becky say why at house?) In statement, she said came by to get some things off her chest. (Say what talked about?) No big detail. Latter … OBJECTION – SUSTAINED
(Investigation reveal subject/) OBJECTION – HEARSAY. OVERRULED
In statement, she said get things off chest. OBJECTION – judge – lay proper predicate. (In statement, she said mother was going to sell everything? Did she go to confront or discuss this?) That’s correct. Conversation in living room of Jane Jones’ home. Becky said sitting on couch, that mother was in recliner at end of couch. (What she say happened?) Stated phone rang, they had discussion .. nothing bad. Then phone rang, Jane answered and got up … went to get phone and spoke briefly, then hung up and turned around and Becky said she’d decided that was all to be talked about. She decided it was time to go, picked up her purse for keys, gun lying on top, she removed gun when mother turned around. Said mother charged at her because she felt life was in danger. They struggled and gun went off. This is from defendant. Becky Jones’ gun.
(Why she brought gun to home?) Said didn’t want to leave it in the car. (Who pulled gun out?) Becky. (Who called 911?) Victim, Jane JOnes. (Where was defendant sitting?) On couch, according to her statement. (Gun found?) Laying on couch. (How got on couch?) Defendant said she dropped it on couch. (What did defendant do then?) She left. (Noticed blood?) Said she saw drop on floor, she left. (Did she call 911?) No. She said she called her boyfriend, in Alabama. (Defendant administer First Aid?) No.
(Exhibit) Booking photograph for anyone who comes into jail. After Becky Jones taken into custody on May 11, 2010. (Any signs defendant had been in a struggle?) No sir. Hardly a hair out of place. (Did she know mother was dead?) Not at first. (Who told her?) Don’t remember but think I did. (Emotion from her?) OBJECTION – OVERRULED.
(Emotion from her about death?) Prior to, I had offered her a box of tissue so I could see emotion. She pulled a few out. After told her mother died. She sort of dropped down like this to her knees and elbows … but never saw her dab a tear or use a tissue. (Say sorry?) No, not that I recall. (Remorse?) None.
10:49 – LAHER TO CROSS EXAMINE
TOLAR – (Laher – other than the interview, is that your part of investigation?) I did involve myself to some extent after the day it occurred. Not on day. (Testing?) No, none of my personnel has professional ability to do testing. (Not at scene, no photos yourself, interviewed her?) Correct. (Observations of her … did you have day-to-day dealings with Becky in past couple of years?) Correct. (In years past… several… she was pulled over for a traffic ticket … ) Yes. (Gun?) Appears to be same. (That she had gun with her that day, wasn’t first time?) Yes. (Asked to question her about … she didn’t have a lawyer… held overnight?) Yes. (No one you knew had counseled her?) Correct. Our procedure on felony charge. (When interview, you get their unvarnished account?) Yes.
(In investigation … spoke with officers about what they heard and saw?) Some of them, investigators. (Why she was there and why in Mississippi?) Yes. (About costume jewelry party?) Yes. (Ever talked to some family?) Statement from Mr. Hicks, don’t recall anyone else. (But others have been interviewed?) Yes. (Told you she’d go see mother?) Yes. (Said heard her mother was going to sell everything?) Yes. (Not just small piece, everything?) Yes. (And so, told you her mother had acted ugly in town at a store?) Yes,.
(So, she goes there?) Yes. (You didn’t go on-ground investigation. But in interview, she explained her version of what happened?) Yes. (Did she tell you about an initial struggle, they were standing up?) Yes. (SEcond time, they had fallen to ground?) Yes. (Does she say kicking or scratching or manual harm to one another?) No …but how define struggle. (Over a gun?) Yes. (After gun went off second time, she said she got up?) I don’t recall specifically. (She said mother called 911?) Yes.
(We know her mother made that call?) Yes. (Becky said she tried to get to a phone, too?) Yes. (Did she say she tried to get on the phone to say that’s not what happened?) Yes, what she said. (Gun not found on side of road?) On couch. (She told you … she panicked and left?) What she said. (But didn’t stay gone?) Correct. (Turned around and came back. Did she say why?) Think she said she didn’t think she’d done anything wrong. (Doesn’t deny gun?) No. (No evidence she tried to dash in and hide evidence?) Not time. (Complied with investigation… cooperated?) Yes. (Answered your questions?) Pretty much. (Didn’t have a lawyer then?) Right. 10:59
(WISE – Did she say Jane had gun?) No. (Did defendant do anything to get help?) No, sir. (Was defendant sTIll blaming her mother for problems in statement?) OBJECTION – OVERRULED. (Wise shows statement.) Says nothing is ever fault.
11:00 – WITNESS EXCUSED / JURY BREAK 15 MINUTES
• • •
BOONEVILLE – A heated exchange in court this morning caused a jury recess while Judge Jim Seth Pounds told a defense attorney he’ll cite him with contempt if he doesn’t stop his aggressive behavior in this murder trial.
The judge’s threat came moments after Tupelo attorney Rob Laher shouted questions at Prentiss Deputy Roy Reagan, who conducted the shooting-scene investigation of Jane Jones’ home on May 11, 2010 near Booneville.
Jones’ daughter, Rebecca “Becky” Jones, is on trial accused of fatally shooting her mother.
“I won’t allow this,” Pounds told Laher after he sent the jury for a 20-minute recess. “Don’t push this court… I will hold you in contempt.”
Reagan was the state’s first witness today, although another deputy testified Tuesday as the first person to the residence where Jane Jones was found wounded and dying.
From Laher’s questions, Reagan admitted he did not make a crime-scene diagram and did not know how high off the floor he found a bullet hole some day or so after the shooting.
Laher’s emotions rose after he pressed Reagan with previous testimony about the shooting, in which Reagan said the hole could have been 12 inches high.
Becky Jones, 49, went on trial in October 2012 but Pounds declared a mistrial after she was hospitalized in a coma that apparently occurred overnight of the trial’s third day.
The lawyer also pushed Reagan about why he hadn’t taken fingerprints from the death weapon, a 38 caliber pistol.
Reagan said he didn’t see any signs of a struggle and didn’t think it was necessary to determine who handled the pistol.
The trial began Tuesday with Assistant District Attorney Kimmie Kitchens telling the jury the state will prove Jones killed her mother after a long-running dispute.
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