Investigators searching the Monterey home of murder suspect Lawrence Jones found evidence of a horrific crime scene, according to a search warrant filed in Monterey County Superior Court.
The search came after a Monterey County pathologist identified the dismembered remains of Jones' ex-wife, Norife "Janie" Herrera Jones, who was living in San Jose when she was killed. Her remains were found in a grove of trees in Aromas earlier this month.
According to the search warrant filed Tuesday, blood was spattered or spilled over much of Jones' two-story Spray Avenue house, particularly in an upstairs bathroom. Members of an FBI evidence response team found hair and blood on an ax and one of several hand saws taken from the scene. Clothing had been burned in the fireplace, a carving knife placed in the dishwasher.
When an investigator removed the knife from the dishwasher, a piece of plastic fell from it. According to the search warrant, the plastic appeared to match bags found Sept. 7 off Cannon Road and Highway 101 in Aromas containing Janie Jones' head, arms and legs.
Also found in Lawrence Jones' house was a Remington 12-gauge Nitro Magnum 6 shotgun shell located behind several books on a bookshelf in the hallway just inside the garage. A number of birdshot pellets were found on the floor of the upstairs bathroom and in long, dark hair taken from a drain in the bathtub.
Pathologist John Hain concluded the 29-year-old woman died of gunshot wounds to the back of her head and her back. FBI crime scene investigators, asked by the San Benito County Sheriff's Office to process the scene, did not find a shotgun that Jones' son, Cameron Jones, indicated his father kept beneath his bed.
Lawrence Jones, 69, a Naval Postgraduate School professor, remains in custody without bail in Monterey County Jail. His arraignment was delayed again Thursday until Oct. 11 to allow him more time to retain a lawyer.
Salinas defense attorney Richard Rosen told Judge Marla Anderson that sheriff's officials at the jail will not allow Jones to use the phone to call his family to finalize Rosen's retainer. Jail Chief Jeff Budd said Jones is allowed out of his isolation cell for a shower, exercise and telephone use each day, just like any other inmate. He has not, apparently, chosen to do so.
"I can't force the man to go and call his family," Budd said, adding that health professionals have visited Jones' cell. "He's kind of been in a little bit of a funk lately. I've checked on him myself, and he looks a little dejected."
Jones' original arraignment appearance was delayed because of a "medical issue." He appeared the next day with bandages around his hand and wrist. Budd said he could not confirm or deny that Jones tried to kill himself.
Jones has a history of suicide attempts. Cameron Jones asked Monterey police to check on his father in July after the elder Jones called his estranged wife stating he was going to kill himself. Janie Jones told friends her husband tried to slit his wrists before their divorce became final Aug. 31. Neighbors also reported seeing paramedics responding to the Spray Avenue home once after a suicide attempt.
Jones also has a previously unreported history of violence against others.
According to affidavits attached to the search warrant, Jones was arrested for attempted murder in 1993. According to Budd, records show that arrest was not in Monterey County.
Lt. Leslie Sonne;, spokeswoman for the Monterey Police Department, which took over the investigation from San Benito after Janie Jones was identified, declined to discuss the details of the attempted murder arrest. Prosecutor Elaine McCleaf said she doesn't yet have information about his criminal history.
Jones was also arrested for battery on a peace officer in 1976, battery in 1977, domestic violence in 1993, assault in 1998 and drunken driving in 2011, his only other Monterey County arrest.
The search warrant also includes details of Jones' alleged deceit of police and his ex-wife's family and friends as concern was mounting about her absence but before her remains were identified.
The records indicate Janie Jones was last seen alive on Aug. 29 at her job at Zoom Vision in Milpitas. She was to have returned to work Aug. 30 but never showed or called. Her divorce became final the next day.
She was first reported missing to San Jose police by a boyfriend on Sept. 3. Police there questioned Lawrence Jones, who was listed as her emergency contact on her apartment lease.
When asked if he knew his ex-wife's whereabouts, Jones corrected them and said Janie was still his wife and had been with him from Aug. 30 to Sept. 4, but he had not seen her since. The missing persons case was closed.
On Sept. 7, a passer-by found Janie Jones' remains, minus her hands, in a grove of trees on the side of the road. . Hain concluded she had died two to three days before. She was identified Sept. 11 from the lot number on her breast implants.
San Benito sheriff's investigators called Monterey police, who said they had responded to a domestic disturbance call at the 115 Spray Ave. home, but neither agency could find a missing persons report on her.
Monterey police told San Benito they had also responded to an alarm call at the residence on the evening of Sept. 2. They ran a check on the vehicles present, including a 2006 Honda Civic registered to Norife Herrera Jones. They also spoke to Lawrence Jones, but saw no woman present and left.
San Benito's detective, Terri Edwards, then tracked Jones through the Naval Postgraduate School, where he was a professor and internationally recognized financial management expert. School officials indicated on Sept. 12 that Jones was not teaching this semester, but had gone to Southern California on school business the day before.
Around this time, a female friend reported Janie Jones missing. The friend said she had received a message on Facebook from Janie's sister-in-law saying Janie had failed to arrive as expected in the Philippines on Sept. 10. The trip was prearranged and no one had been able to reach her since.
The friend showed Edwards Facebook communications from Lawrence Jones responding to inquiries from Janie's sister-in-law. Jones told her he'd last seen his ex-wife Sept. 4 and had not spoken to her since.
He said he was worried about her because he normally spoke to her daily. He had confirmed she had never boarded her flight, he said, and had contacted the San Jose Police Department numerous times, but they failed to take a report.
Further investigation showed Jones and his ex-wife had no cellphone communication after Sept. 1 and Jones never called San Jose police, Edwards' affidavit states.
On Sept. 13, another of Janie Jones' male friends contacted the San Benito County Sheriff's Office. He said he had been communicating with Lawrence Jones trying to find Janie. Jones told him that he'd spent Sept. 1-4 with his ex-wife. They'd been intimate, he said, and were working on their marriage.
Jones was arrested that day in La Mirada.
The search of his home was conducted the next day. It was a scene that had been sloppily cleaned. Police found what appeared to be blood on bleach and other bottles of cleaning solution.
There were blood stains on mats, on carpeting on the stairs and living room, towels and shirts in the laundry, a soap dispenser in the kitchen pantry, a nonslip mat in the tub of the upstairs bathroom and a blue tarp in the garage.
Attached to the tarp were pieces of yellow rope similar to rope found at the Aromas crime scene.
Investigators took several knives, hacksaws, handsaws and the ax. They also seized computers, USB drives, a webcam and Lawrence Jones' Nissan Maxima, the trunk of which appeared to have been recently vacuumed and was swamped with 2 to 3 inches of water.
Janie Jones' Honda Civic was no longer at the residence.
Virginia Hennessey can be reached at 831-753-6751 email@example.com.