State of Missouri v. Donald Jones

979 S.W.2d 171 (Mo.banc 1998)

Donald Jones was executed at 12:07 a.m., April 27, 2005

Jones_DonaldCase Facts: On March 6, 1993, Donald Jones went to his grandmother’s house around midnight to get some money to buy crack cocaine. When Jones arrived, the grandmother, Dorothy Knuckles, let him in, and they went to her bedroom on the second floor. While in the bedroom Jones asked the grandmother for money. She refused and started lecturing Jones about his drinking and use of cocaine.

Jones went downstairs to the kitchen, picked up a butcher block that contained knives, hid it behind him and went upstairs. His grandmother started lecturing him again, and Jones hit her several times with the butcher block while she screamed. Jones apparently became afraid that the neighbors might hear her screaming, picked up a knife that had fallen out of the butcher block and stabbed her until she stopped screaming and fell back onto her bed.

Jones took his grandmother’s car keys, money, and VCR, and he drove off in her car. Jones purchased some drugs, sold the VCR and rented out the car to get money to but drugs.

The grandmother’s body was discovered on March 8, 1993, by her son. On March 9, 1993, the police went to Jones’ place of work to question him. Jones was not under arrest at this time, and he agreed to follow the police to the homicide office. After some conversations at the office, Jones became a suspect and was informed of his Miranda rights. Jones then said, “It’s the monster inside of me.” He explained that the monster inside him was the crack cocaine that had caused him to kill his grandmother. He gave an audiotape statement of the above facts on how he killed his grandmother.

Final Statement by Donald Jones

Praise God!
Every day is a day to give the Lord thanks for all He’s done! To my Beautiful Family, Friends, and all those whose been in prayer, in thought and support, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. To my Family, you will never truely know how your love, prayers, and forgiveness has sustained me all these years, to all my friends and supporters, especially my Beautiful Angels at St. Louis University, your courage and conviction is inspiring, keep the sturggle alive. To my mother who truly has been hurt the most, your love and strength I carry with me always. Take care of my son. I”m finally free and I’m going home to grandmother now. I love you all and God Bless.


Legal Chronology

03/07 – Donald Jones murders and robs Dorothy Knuckles in St. Louis, Missouri.

06/06 – Jones goes on trial for First Degree Murder and ARmed Criminal Action in the Circuit Court of St. Louis city. On June 16, 1994, Jones is found guilt of both counts and the jury recommends a sentence of death for the murder and Life for the Armed Criminal Action.

07/22 – Trial court sentences Jones to death.

03/01 – Jones files a post-conviction relief motion in the circuit court.

10/22 – Circuit court denies Jones’ post-conviction relief motion.

11/03 – The Missouri Supreme Court affirms Jones’ conviction and sentence. State. v. Jones, 979 S.W. 2d 171 (Mo.banc 1998)

01/19 – The United States Supreme Court denies Jones petition for writ of certiorari. Jones v. Missouri, 525 U.S. 1112 (1999).

01/18 – Jones files petition for writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court.

10/01 – The United States District Court of Appeals affirms the District Court’s denial of Jones’ petition for writ of habeas corpus.

03/03 – The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirms the District Court’s denial of Jones’ petition for write of habeas corpus. Jones v. Leubbers, 359 F.3d 1005 (8th Cir. 2004)
12/06 – The United States Supreme Court denies Jones’ petition for writ of certiorari. Jones v. Roper, 04-6756.

01/21 – State files motion to set execution date wiht the Missouri Supreme Court.
03/28 – Missouri Supreme kCourt sets Jones’ execution date for April 27, 2005.