Testimony begins in day one of Jones murder trial

Local News

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – Testimony began Tuesday in the murder trial of Jason Kenneth Jones.
Jones is accused of killing his mother and another woman in March of last year.

Jurors heard from several key witnesses, including Jones’ girlfriend at the time, who was wounded in the shootings.

State attorney Larry Basford presented witness after witness Tuesday, establishing a timeline of Jason Kenneth Jones’ actions on March 4th, 2020.

Jones’ long-time girlfriend Esther Lowe said Jones had been drinking that day and displayed erratic, threatening behavior toward her and her son, Brayden.

Lowe testified in court Tuesday that he did shoot at her while she and her son were fleeing, hitting her once in the hip.

When Basford asked Lowe what her primary concern was as she was trying to get away from Jones, she said “that he was going to end up hitting Brayden.” Lowe goes on to say that she told her son to take off running.

Lowe’s son also took the stand, and testified to what he experienced that day.

Basford asked Brayden how Jones reacted to his grandmother announcing that she was going to call the police and he responded that Jones shot her while he was in the same room as them.

Bay County Sheriff’s investigators testified that Jones shot his mother, Mary Laven twice, then set her mobile home on fire.

They added that he followed Lowe as she and Brayden tried to run away down Highway 231.

Lowe ran into a nearby neighborhood, hiding in the home of a stranger.

When neighbor Djuna Newman stepped out of her home to see what was happening, deputies say Jones shot and killed her as well.

Prosecutors played Jones’ video confession, recorded shortly after his arrest. In the video, Jones said that after the gun went off his mom “kind of doubled over” and he panicked and gestured that the bullet hit her somewhere in her upper region.

The state is pushing for a murder conviction. Jones’ attorney is arguing for a lesser charge of manslaughter.

Testimony resumes at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday with the jury trials expected to get the case that afternoon.

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