JERRY JONES, JR., WILL DEFEND HIMSELF IN HIS THIRD TRIAL WHERE HE STANDS ACCUSED OF STABBING HIS WIFE TO DEATH --
"48 HOURS MYSTERY" SATURDAY, OCT. 15
For nearly 17 years, sisters Kim and Beth Jones of Snohomish, Wash., have been trying to prove that their father, Jerry Jones, Jr., is innocent of charges that he stabbed their mother, Lee, to death. 48 HOURS has followed this story since 1999 when Jones was released from prison after an appeals court overturned his murder conviction. But that release was only the beginning of an extraordinary legal drama that would include two more trials. At his third trial, for which Jones will represent himself, will the jury find him guilty, or will they set him free? Correspondent Peter Van Sant reports for 48 HOURS MYSTERY: "Defending Your Life," to be broadcast Saturday, Oct. 15 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
On the night of Dec. 3, 1988, Jones says he and his wife were home with their four-year-old son, Thomas, who was sleeping. Jones says Lee went to bathe in the hallway bathroom while he had his shower running nearby in the master bathroom. Then, Jones said he heard one, loud, piercing scream. Racing toward the bathroom, Jones remembers colliding with a knife- wielding intruder and getting his hand cut. He says he was knocked back, hit his head against the wall, fell to the floor and saw black and white flashing lights. When he got up, the intruder had vanished. Jones discovered Lee in the tub, stabbed numerous times and struggling to speak.
Jones says that after finding his wife, he spent crucial minutes trying to get her out of the tub. In the midst of all the blood and chaos, his young son came upstairs. After sending the boy downstairs several times, Jones took him to a neighbor's house. It was only after he returned home that Jones finally call 9-1-1. During the call, Jones had trouble remembering his address. When investigators finally arrived, they found Jones wet and bloody.
Despite Jones' claims that a neighbor boy murdered his wife, detectives focused on him as their sole suspect. Jones says police didn't do an investigation and, "I think [police] had already made up their mind. Lee is dead. Jerry's at home. Case is closed."
Jones was tried and found guilty of his wife's murder, but in 1999, an appeals court ordered him released due to an ineffective lawyer.
In 2001, Jones was re-tried and re-convicted. Remarkably, his conviction was reversed, again, because the jury didn't hear crucial evidence. Now, Jones is headed to court for a third time. Once again he'll face Ron Doersch, the prosecutor who convicted him twice before, but this time, Jones will represent himself.
48 HOURS MYSTERY: "Defending Your Life" is produced by Lisa Freed and Shoshana Wolfson. Anthony Batson is the senior producer and Susan Zirinsky is the executive producer.