Thursday, October 20th, 2011
Jones found guilty in death of grandmother
By Shelley Grieshop
VAN WERT - A 37-year-old Van Wert man may spend the rest of his life behind bars for savagely killing his grandmother in her home more than a year ago.
Shawn M. Jones was found guilty Wednesday in the death of 84-year-old Edna LaRue following a trial by judge that began on Monday in Van Wert Common Pleas Court. He was immediately sentenced to an indefinite term of 15 years to life in prison by Judge Charles D. Steele.
Jones received credit for 385 days of incarceration served since his arrest.
Jones earlier pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity to a charge of murder. Three weeks before the trial was to begin, he waived his right to a jury trial in favor of Steele deciding his fate.
According to the court report, Jones was staying with his grandmother on Oct. 1 because his grandfather was visiting a relative out of state. In a videotaped confession presented at the trial, Jones admitted to becoming angry with his grandmother when she objected to him leaving to run errands that day. He testified that he hit LaRue and swung her around the room before tying an alarm clock cord around her neck and strangling her.
The coroner's report said the elderly woman died of strangulation.
Forensic scientists and crime scene investigators from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification testified during the three-day trial about the DNA evidence and blood splatter they obtained from the scene at LaRue's Sunrise Court apartment in Van Wert.
Also testifying for the prosecution were Van Wert City police officers.
The defense brought in just one witness - Jones' mother, Joetta Jones - who found the elderly woman's body the day of the murder. Joetta Jones reportedly told the court her son suffers from mental illness from a car accident years ago.