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Author Topic: Phillip L. Jones, Registered Sex Offender, Sentenced to Death in Ohio  (Read 1050 times)

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Offline Jeff1857

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Physical and scientific evidence link a registered sex offender to the rape and strangulation of a 33-year-old Akron woman, prosecutors told a Summit County jury on Monday.

Phillip L. Jones, 37, is charged with aggravated murder and rape in the slaying of Susan Marie Christian-Yates, whose body was found by a jogger in Mount Peace Cemetery off Aqueduct Street on April 23.

If he is convicted, Jones could face the death penalty.

Assistant Summit County Prosecutor Becky Doherty told the jury in opening statements that the state's Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation linked semen found on the victim to Jones.

Doherty said a plastic, fluorescent cross, which was covering the victim's right eye when responding officers arrived in the cemetery, also was linked to Jones.

The defendant's wife, who provided detectives with information that led to the arrest of Jones on the night after the body was found, later discovered an identical cross in a jewelry box at the couple's residence, the prosecutor said.


Jurors view photo


Jurors were shown a photograph of the woman's body, with the cross fully covering the right eye and her denim skirt torn along her left leg.

Defense lawyer Kerry M. O'Brien, who did not give the jury many specific details during his opening statement, said out of earshot of the jury that it was an accidental death that did not qualify for death-penalty consideration.

O'Brien also said he and co-counsel Donald R. Hicks would contest the rape allegations and they expect Jones to testify in his own defense.

Summit County court records show Jones was convicted of attempted rape in 1990 and has an extensive arrest record.

According to Akron Beacon Journal archives, the 1990 case involved a 16-year-old girl.


Offline Jeff1857

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Re: Registered Ohio Sex Offender May Face DP in Rape and Murder Trial
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2007, 07:42:09 AM »
A Summit County jury took only four hours Monday to find an Akron man guilty of aggravated murder and rape for the April beating and strangulation of a 33-year-old woman at Mount Peace Cemetery.

Defendant Phillip L. Jones, 37, could face the death penalty when the next phase of the trial to consider mitigating factors presented by the defense begins Jan. 10, court officials said Monday night.

In closing arguments earlier in the day, prosecutors said scattered pieces of evidence found by police at the scene of the slaying were persuasive signs of a chase and struggle during the victim's final moments.

Testifying last week, Jones told the panel he accidentally killed the woman while they were having rough sex on a blanket on the cemetery grounds.

Jones said he simply ''went too far'' and heard a crack or popping sound as he placed his hands around the victim's neck after she asked him to heighten her arousal by restricting her breathing.

But Assistant Summit County Prosecutor Brian LoPrinzi told jurors that Jones' story was ''so absurd, so unbelievable, I hope that you don't even consider it.''

LoPrinzi said buttons from the victim's undergarment were found on a paved cemetery road at two points the first about 30 feet from the body and the second about 45 feet away.

One of the victim's earrings also was found along the road, several yards below the woman's feet.

A jogger discovered the body of Susan Marie Christian-Yates, 33, on a Monday morning, April 23, near several headstones under a large tree in the eastern section of the cemetery off Aqueduct Street.

The Summit County Medical Examiner's Office determined that she had been beaten
and strangled and that the cause of death was asphyxiation.

Pointing to autopsy findings presented at the trial, LoPrinzi stressed his theory that there was a chase and struggle by telling jurors that Yates' feet were dirty but her shoes were not.

''Her feet became dirty that night as she tried to run away from the defendant,'' he said.

Jones, 37, was charged with aggravated murder, murder and two counts of rape. He was found guilty of all charges in the trial held before Common Pleas Judge Mary F. Spicer.

In addition to the state's theory that Yates was chased before her death, LoPrinzi showed the jury police photos of two pieces of crime-scene evidence apparently indiciating there had been a struggle.

One was a hair band with a thick strand of the victim's hair torn away, and the other was the victim's neck chain, with another strand of tangled hair in the chain's links.

''So, who's telling the truth?'' LoPrinzi asked, attempting to differentiate between the state's theory and the defendant's testimony.

Jones testified that he encountered Yates early Sunday evening, April 22, as he was driving along Balch Street near West Market Street.

She was fighting with a man, slashing at him with a knife as the man was punching her, Jones said.

He said he broke up the fight, the man ran away and Yates got into his car and left with him.

Later that night, after stopping to get some beer and wine at a drive-through and making a crack cocaine buy on the street, Jones testified, he and Yates went to the cemetery and had consensual sex.

Defense lawyer Kerry O'Brien said the autopsy found cocaine in Yates' system and her blood-alcohol content was 0.096 percent, higher than the amount the state considers to be intoxicated.

O'Brien also told the jury that another male's DNA was found on the victim's breast area. Laboratory workers from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation had testified to that finding during the trial, he said.

That showed ''somebody else was there, somebody else was with Susan Yates,'' O'Brien said.




Offline Jeff1857

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Re: Registered Ohio Sex Offender May Face DP in Rape and Murder Trial
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2008, 01:44:07 PM »
Jury recommends death penalty for Jones


In little more than 4 hours today, a Summit County jury recommended the death penalty for Phillip L. Jones in the April beating and strangulation of a 33-year-old Akron woman at Mount Peace Cemetery.

Jones, 37, was convicted last month of aggravated murder and 2 counts of rape. An autopsy by the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office determined that Susan Marie Christian-Yates died of asphyxiation.

Common Pleas Judge Mary F. Spicer, who handled the case, scheduled sentencing for Jan. 30.

Defense lawyers Kerry M. O'Brien and Donald R. Hicks declined to comment after the jury's decision was announced.

In little more than four hours today, a Summit County jury recommended the death penalty for Phillip L. Jones in the April beating and strangulation of a 33-year-old Akron woman at Mount Peace Cemetery.

Jones, 37, was convicted last month of aggravated murder and two counts of rape. An autopsy by the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office determined that Susan Marie Christian-Yates died of asphyxiation.

Common Pleas Judge Mary F. Spicer, who handled the case, scheduled sentencing for Jan. 30.

Defense lawyers Kerry M. O'Brien and Donald R. Hicks declined to comment after the jury's decision was announced.


Offline Jeff1857

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Re: Phillip L. Jones, Registered Sex Offender, Sentenced to Death in Ohio
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2008, 09:59:04 AM »
Jones gets death penalty in rape-slaying


A Summit County judge sentenced Phillip L. Jones to death this afternoon for the April slaying of 33-year-old Susan Marie Christian Yates at Mount Peace Cemetery.

Jones, 37, was found guilty last month of aggravated murder, murder, 2 counts of rape and various criminal specifications attached to the offenses. A jury took only 4 hours to return the verdicts.

Common Pleas Judge Mary F. Spicer told Jones she was imposing the death penalty because the aggravating factors of the offenses convincingly outweighed the mitigating factors presented by defense lawyers earlier this month in the penalty phase of the trial.

Spicer also gave Jones 30 years in prison for the offenses of rape.

The Summit County Medical Examiner's Office determined Yates was beaten and strangled and that the cause of death was asphyxiation. Autopsy photos viewed by the jury at Jones' trial showed the victim's body was badly bruised from head to foot and that her clothes were torn.

A jogger discovered the body on a Monday morning, April 23, near several headstones under a large tree in the eastern section of the cemetery off Aqueduct Street.

Willie Yates of Akron the victim's husband briefly addressed the court before sentencing, saying Jones ''took a beautiful person and turned her into something she wasn't.''

Jones testified at his trial that he accidentally killed Yates while they were having rough sex on a blanket on the cemetery grounds.

He said he simply ''went too far'' and heard a crack or popping sound as he placed his hands around the victim's neck after she asked him to heighten her arousal by restricting her breathing.

In the government's closing arguments, Assistant Summit County Prosecutor Brian LoPrinzi called the story told by Jones ''absurd.''

After today's proceedings were adjourned, Willie Yates and the victim's sister, Lois Christian, briefly spoke to reporters.

Willie Yates said he was hoping Spicer ''would do the right thing'' by sentencing Jones to death.

''Knowing the type of lady my wife was,'' Willie Yates said, ''she's probably up there forgiving this fool.''

Jones did not show much emotion as Spicer sentenced him. Standing before the bench in orange-striped jail clothes and shackles, with 6 sheriff's deputies in the courtroom, he bit his lip, tilted his head backward and briefly closed his eyes.

Spicer scheduled the execution date for Jan. 30, 2009.