Defending Your Life
In Third Trial For Wife's Murder, Man Acts As Own Lawyer
Oct. 15, 2005
A Washington state wife and mother was brutally stabbed and murdered as she was preparing to take a bath in her home, while her husband was just feet away, in a nearby room.
Police immediately suspected the husband, who was tried twice on murder charges. Incredibly, those verdicts were overturned.
Then, he faced a third trial and took a gamble by defending himself.
Would his strategy work?
48 Hours correspondent Peter Van Sant reports.
Joe Ward remembers the crime scene after Lee Jones was murdered in 1988. A homicide detective for the Snohomish County sheriff’s office, he was sent to investigate the killing.
"Mrs. Jones had received a lot of injuries to her body, all over her body. She had over 60 wounds. There were slashes. There were stabs," Ward remembers. "It looked like she had fought for her life in that room. And lost."
Ron Doersch also has ties to the case. He was the deputy prosecuting attorney who tried Jerry Jones Jr., Lee's husband twice before.
Jones told police he heard a noise, responded, and found his wife. As he ran down the hallway, he says, someone brushed by him and pushed him against the wall. He says as he tried to grab the knife his hand was cut.
Ward calls the story "unbelievable."
"Detective Ward begins to realize it just doesn’t add up and that he has the murder suspect right in front of him," says Doersch.
The first trial ended with a guilty verdict, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 1999 that Jones’s lawyer had been ineffective and that the case should be retried.
48 Hours began following the Jones case after he was released, marking the beginning of an incredible legal drama.
And after wasting years of court time and thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to try this murderer three times, the end result is that he'll be free in two years for time served and good behavior.
Well The Prosecuting Attorney's office sure made a mess out of that case...Look's like a good place to pull a bank robbery hide the money somewhere and spend at the most 90 day's and walk away to nearest hardware store for some pick's and shovel's..Originally Posted by bykerladi
The last I heard of this case, he (Jerry Bartlett Jones,Jr.) rec'd life in prison.
Is this correct?
He played his own attorney for th 3rd re-trial and lost.
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They controlled the metaphorical thread of life of every mortal from birth to death."