CALIFORNIA – California Supreme Court upholds 1999 death sentence

May 7, 2012 Source :

The California Supreme Court Monday, May 7, upheld a death penalty sentence for a Mead Valley man sentenced in 1999 for his conviction of first-degree murder during a sexual assault on an 81-year-old woman who was a neighbor and long-time family friend.

The state high court voted 7-0 to uphold the death penalty for William Alfred Jones Jr, now 55, who was convicted by jurors for the attack that left Ruth Vernice Eddings dead.

Her nude body was found June 19, 1996, on the living room floor of her mobile home along Cajalco Road. Jones had torched the building to cover up the murder, and arson investigators discovered the body.

Jones admitted to sheriff’s investigators he had been drinking heavily when he went to Eddings’ mobile home to sexually attack her.

At the time, Jones was a parolee and registered sex offender living with his parents and working as a carpenter. He had been released from prison about 1 1/2 years earlier and had befriended Eddings, who had been his parents’ neighbor for many years.

Jones’ criminal past included several attacks on women and children, starting at age 15 when he stabbed a teacher. In 1990, he raped a 16-year-old girl, went to prison and was paroled.

Among the appeal items rejected Monday by the state Supreme Court was that the trial judge erred during the penalty phase by allowing the victim impact statement of the teacher, who was attacked in 1972.

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