As deputies escorted murder suspect Nathan Jones out of a Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations courtroom Friday, May 11, his father, Dennis Jones, told him to be strong.
Nathan Jones’ sister also called to him as he was escorted back to jail. "Nate, I love you," said Stephanie Jones.
Minutes before, Judge Glenn L. Clayton II certified the murder case against Nathan Jones to a Fairfax County Circuit Court grand jury after three witnesses at the preliminary hearing provided about 90 minutes of testimony.
Dennis Jones testified about his son’s deteriorating mental condition in the years leading up to the murder of Pamela Ann Jones, Nathan Jones’ mother, on Friday, May 12, 2006. Pamela Jones was stabbed to death and found on the bathroom floor in her Mosby Woods home.
A grand jury is scheduled to indict Nathan Jones later this month, one of the initial steps for a felony case to proceed in Fairfax County Circuit Court. In a preliminary hearing, the prosecution presents only enough evidence to demonstrate to the judge that the case should move forward, usually not offering a thorough narrative of facts or events.
The preliminary hearing on Friday took place one day shy of the anniversary of Pamela Jones’ death.
NATHAN JONES SPENT most of the past year in Central State Hospital — a mental health facility in Petersburg, Va. — after Fairfax City police arrested and charged him with the murder of his mother on Friday, May 12, 2006.
Police interrogated Nathan Jones, then 24, for two hours that evening, testified Fairfax City Police Detective Michael Boone at the preliminary hearing. Nathan Jones only said 21 words during that interrogation, none of which were to confess to the crime, Boone said.
"He would stare at the floor [during the interrogation]," said Boone. "He wasn’t being real communicative with us."
Nathan Jones continued his stare during the preliminary hearing. Wearing a green-blue prison suit and glasses, he looked down with little expression while evidence was presented against him.
Police retrieved more than 100 pieces of evidence from the crime scene, including shards of broken glass, a bucket of bloody water, a mop and two bloody knives, according to Jennifer Smith, a forensic biologist. Police found large amounts of blood in the basement and the kitchen of the home, and in the bathroom where his mother’s body was discovered. Blood samples from the socks Nathan Jones was wearing when he was arrested contained Pamela Jones’ blood, Smith testified.
PAMELA JONES CALLED Dennis Jones, her estranged husband, two or three times on the day of her death, Dennis Jones testified.
She first called after 4 a.m. to tell him their son was acting "psychotic" and hadn’t slept. He was standing in the driveway just looking up at the sky, Dennis Jones said his wife told him.
Dennis Jones drove to the Mosby Woods neighborhood to check on his son between 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m., he said. Before Dennis Jones reached the home, on Sherman Street, he saw Nathan Jones walking down the street with a basketball in his hand. Dennis Jones drove his son to a nearby park and told him to make sure he took his medication when he returned home.
Pamela called Dennis Jones two more times that day, reaching him once. She said Nathan Jones seemed to be resting after days of not sleeping, he testified.
But after "strange correspondence" with his son later that same day, Dennis Jones said he became extremely concerned.
An "incoherent conversation" alerted Dennis Jones that his son was in the Fairfax Circle area, where he later picked his son up. But when Dennis Jones started driving toward the family’s home, Nathan Jones became aggressive. He grabbed the steering wheel of the car and told his father he didn’t want to go to the house, according to Dennis Jones’ testimony.
Dennis Jones said it was the first time his son had ever acted this way.
"He gave me the most incredible glare; it was frightening," said Dennis Jones.
Dennis Jones called the family’s home life peaceful, stating that the family never yelled at each other and that he never so much as spanked his son while he was growing up. Nathan Jones’ aggressive behavior worried him that day — enough to make him wonder about the safety of Pamela Jones. He asked Nathan Jones where she was, and said his son replied, "She’s not there."
"I said ‘You haven’t hurt her have you?’" Dennis Jones said during his testimony.
After more "strange and confusing communication" with his son, Dennis Jones left his son near Fairfax Circle and headed home to check on Pamela Jones. He called from his cell phone but she didn’t answer.
Her car was in the driveway when he arrived. He walked into the home and eventually found her dead on the bathroom floor. The door was duct-taped shut.
Police arrested Nathan Jones near Fairfax Circle a short time later.