Assailant’s bloody path retraced

The person who stabbed Lee Jones to death in December 1988 probably walked from a bloody bathroom into the master bedroom of her house, a forensic scientist testified Monday,

It was there, in a second bathroom’s shower, that the assailant most likely washed blood and fingerprints off a fillet knife that was used to cause more than 60 wounds, said Kay Sweeney.

Jones, 41, was stabbed to death in the bathtub, and her husband, Jerry Bartlett Jones, now 58, is accused of first-degree murder.

He maintains that an intruder entered their May’s Pond home near Mill Creek and killed his wife. He has told a Snohomish County Superior Court jury that he ran into the man and was cut on the palm of his hand by the assailant.

Sweeney, who was instrumental in establishing the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab, was asked by sheriff’s detectives to visit the Jones residence four days after the murder. He examined the place carefully, looking for blood spots and bloody footprints in the master bedroom.

Deputy prosecutor Ron Doersch showed him a photo of the fillet knife that depicted some blood on the blade and none on the handle.

“I would expect there to be blood on the handle,” he told the jury.

Combined with the bloody footprints, Sweeney said the explanation is the assailant may have gone to the second bathroom to wash the knife before he returned it to the murder scene.

He also examined photos of Jones’ cut hand and said it’s consistent with the assailant having a bloody, slippery hand and having the knife slip when it hit a solid object like bone.

In other testimony, a former neighbor of Jones told the jury that Jones brought his son, then 41/2 -year-old Thomas Jones, next door shortly after the attack.

The child told her he woke up to what he said were “growling” sounds and went to the bathroom where he caught a glimpse of his dying mother, who asked him to call 911.

He said he couldn’t call 911, and went back to bed, Paulette Smith testified.

Jones is acting as his own attorney. He asked sheriff’s deputy Jesus Castillo about what his son told the investigator when he was interviewed.

“‘Dad got some blood on him trying to help mom,’” Castillo testified. The boy also told Castillo that a lion or tiger attacked his mother.

Jones pushed hard on Castillo asking why he, a tracking dog handler, didn’t let the dog track the intruder. He has stressed that a basement garage door was ajar, and maintains that’s how the intruder left the scene.

“I have to have a reason to apply the dog,” Castillo said. “I didn’t have anything to indicate anyone was there.”

This is third trial for Jones. Twice appellate courts have sent the case back for new trials and more evidence about the man Jones accuses of killing his wife. The case, in Judge James Allendoerfer’s court, is expected to continue into next week.

Reporter Jim Haley: 425-339-3447 or

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