CAPITOL HEIGHTS, Md. - The people who knew him well said Willie Jones was a fairly simple man. He lived alone in a house on Seat Pleasant Drive in Prince George's County where he was often seen sitting out front or cooking up a feast on his backyard grill.
He didn't drive. Instead, he relied on others to get him to jobs. At 68 years old, he still used his skills installing carpet. Friends called him W.J.
"He loved cooking out,” said his daughter Laverne Jones. “He loved to have people around him. He just loved it. He was pretty much an entertainer – couldn't sing, but he would try.”
Especially down the street at the Sugar Shack convenience store in Capitol Heights.
"As soon as he would open the door, he would walk right in and that is when he would start singing,” Laverne said. “The people who knew him would stop and just smile.”
But Willie Jones’ love of people may have also cost him his life. His daughter admits the people who were taking advantage of him liked to drink and have a good time.
"Once they were in the home and able to hang out a few times, they started to take advantage and started to use drugs inside his residence, started to do a lot of drinking,” said Prince George’s County Police Detective Bernie Nelson. “He had what we were told were prostitutes who frequented his home to use drugs and drink. When you have that combination, a lot of times it leads to problems.”
Did Jones’ daughter suspect that he was being taken advantage of by people who were using his house for either drug use or drug dealing?
“Never, but I do suspect they used my father because he was just that type of person as far as being kindhearted,” she said.
On Feb. 16, 2009, Laverne Jones decided to go to her father’s house after she hadn't been able to reach him by phone. She found him in his room on his bed where he had been stabbed multiple times.
“There was a white sheet from waist up covered,” she described. “There was a pool of blood and all of this down here was out, so when I looked up and saw all this blood, I just ran out of the house, I started hollering and screaming and I passed right out in the yard. I passed out.”
The following day after she found her father, Laverne was seen hugging friends and neighbors still in disbelief over his violent death. The police were there too still working the crime scene and were compiling a list of people who had been in and out of his house.
"A lot of those people were brought in, they were questioned, they were cooperative,” said Det. Nelson. “However, whether they told the truth or not is a different story. Neither one of them is off of the list of possible suspects and we are not ruling out that it was a complete stranger that is responsible for this. But we strongly believe that Mr. Jones knew his assailant and we strongly believe that it was one of the people who he allowed into the home on numerous occasions in the past.”
When Laverne came by to see about her father on the 16th, she came to the front gate and found it locked. She used a key to get in and then she found the inner door just slightly ajar. Inside the house, investigators later learned that all of the windows were locked and the back door was locked. Their theory now is whoever killed Mr. Jones did it the night before, and as they walked out the front door, they let the gate lock behind them.”
"Prior to the incident taking place, there were rumors floating through the neighborhood that Mr. Jones had a substantial amount of cash hidden inside the house,” Nelson said.
When police first arrived to Jones’ house, there was evidence of drug use and heavy drinking. Coins and electronics were also missing from the home.
"We have some real evildoers out here,” said Laverne Jones. “The Lord didn’t put you on this Earth to kill anyone. They put you on this Earth to love.”
She also wants justice for her father.
"I know someone out there knows something,” she said. “The street that he lived on is too busy. The street is too busy. Seat Pleasant Drive is a busy area whether you are walking, driving. Somebody knows something. Somebody saw something. Someone heard something. And I just want to know why. Why? Nobody deserves to die that way, especially my father.”
She said she has forgiven the person who killed her dad, but she still needs to know the truth. There is a $25,000 reward for the person who can provide it.
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