Judge: Kansas mom mentally fit for trial in stepson’s death
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas woman has been declared mentally fit to stand trial on charges linked to the death of her stepson, whose remains a prosecutor said Monday were found near pigs on the family’s rental property.
Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerome Gorman declined to publicly discuss earlier media reports the 7-year-old victim may have been fed to pigs, telling The Associated Press only that the boy’s bones and other remains were found near swine and that “we’re looking into the connection between the two.”
Gorman has said investigators described the Kansas City, Kansas, scene as “one of the worst things that they have ever seen.”
Heather Jones, whom a judge last week declared mentally competent for trial, is charged along with her husband, Michael Jones, with murder in the death of Michael Jones’ son. The couple are jailed on multi-million-dollar bonds and scheduled for a September preliminary hearing.
Police responding to a reported domestic disturbance last November at the family’s property found what later were determined to be a juvenile’s remains. Michael Jones’ son had been missing for months.
Six children, all girls ranging in age from 10 to less than 2 at the time, were taken from the home after the disturbance in late November and were in state custody.
Michael Jones, a 45-year-old bail bondsman, and his wife initially were charged with felony first-degree murder, a count carrying a life sentence but with parole eligibility after 20 years. Prosecutors later upgraded the charges to premeditated first-degree murder, punishable by a life term with no chance of parole for half century.
Prosecutors have said in court that the case does not qualify for the death penalty.
Heather Jones, 30, was ordered earlier this year to undergo psychiatric testing at the state hospital in Larned.
In interviews with the AP, she alleged her husband abused her and the missing boy, and that she suspected her husband was going to kill her shortly before he was arrested because she “found out” what happened to the missing child.
“I am not God, and I could not save everyone,” she told the AP.