Father of teen convicted of murder admits his life choices impacted his son
Thu, 06 Mar 2014 00:00:18 GMT —
A convicted murder, who shot and killed an elderly woman when he was only 14-years-old, was back in a Genesee County courtroom Wednesday for a special hearing.
Now 17-year-old Mark Jones Jr. faces a life sentence without parole. But a U.S. Supreme Court ruling now declares life without parole unconstitutional for a minor.
Jones Jr. was convicted of the 2010 murder of 73-year-old Merlyne Wray, after he broke into her Flint home and shot her.
Wednesday, his own father, in handcuffs, took the stand.
"How old was Mark when you were released from prison?â?? asked Vikki Bayeh-Haley, Assisting Prosecutor.
"He was 13,â?? said Mark Jones Sr.
His father admitted his life choices have impacted his son.
"A lot of things could have been prevented as far as his upbringing,â?? said Jones Sr.
"We anticipate the people will ask the court to sentence the defendant to life in prison without parole,â?? said Vikki Bayeh-Haley, Assisting Prosecutor.
Jones Jr. has history of robbery offenses. But his former probation officer says she saw improvement in the teenager.
"He brought three of his Es up to Ds. So that was an accomplishment for Mark, at that point,â?? said Stacey Carter, probation office.
But in school, it wasn't the same story.
"There are multiple incidents of physical aggression toward students and staff,â?? said Ernest Steward, Flint Community Schools.
The final decision is now in the judge's hands. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling gives the judge the option of allowing Jones life with parole.
His defense attorney says his hope is to get his client a life sentence with parole.
The hearing is scheduled to continue Thursday morning.