No fingerprints on Jones murder weapon, expert says

There were no fingerprints or visible blood on the handle of the knife that was used to slash and stab Lee Jones to death in 1988, an FBI fingerprint specialist testified Friday in Snohomish County Superior Court.

Joseph Brown’s testimony supports prosecution contentions that the apparent murder weapon had been washed or wiped clean, allegedly by the victim’s husband, Jerry Bartlett Jones, 58.

Jones is on trial for first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Lee Jones, 41. She suffered more than 60 wounds while in the bathroom of their home near Mill Creek on Dec. 3, 1988.

Jones, who is acting as his own attorney, also scored some points with Brown.

The rough surface of the knife handle would be unlikely to provide identifiable fingerprints, Brown testified. He told jurors there’s no way to determine if fingerprints simply dried out naturally or if someone washed or wiped the handle.

Brown also described an accident he had in the FBI lab in Quantico, Va. The handle of the knife the jury has seen appears partly burned. That happened when the knife accidentally fell onto a burner, Brown testified.

“Is this an example of how the best law enforcement agency in the world can make a mistake?” Jones asked Brown.

“You could look at it that way. Yes,” he said.

Jones has already told the jury that people are taught to trust government and law enforcement. He implied that they sometimes make mistakes, including their focus on him for his wife’s killing.

In other testimony, Snohomish Country sheriff’s deputy Philip Sisk recounted an hour’s conversation with Jones the night of his wife’s murder. Sisk placed a bandage on a deep cut on Jones’ right hand near his little finger and tried to calm him down.

Jones, who was not then a suspect or under arrest, told Sisk that his wife had gone to take a bath and he heard her scream. He said he ran to her aid and encountered an intruder at the bathroom door.

He said he was knocked back, hit his head on something and became disoriented, Sisk said. Jones gave only a general description and didn’t identify an assailant.

Now Jones told the jury he intends to point the finger at a then 15-year-old classmate of one of his daughters.

This is the third trial for Jones, who won two appeals. He’s already served more than 12 years of a 25-year sentence. The trial is expected to continue another two weeks.

Reporter Jim Haley: 425-339-3447 or

Talk to us

More in Local News

An example of the Malicious Women Co. products (left) vs. the Malicious Mermaid's products (right). (U.S. District Court in Florida)
Judge: Cheeky candle copycat must pay Snohomish company over $800K

The owner of the Malicious Women Co. doesn’t expect to receive any money from the Malicious Mermaid, a Florida-based copycat.

A grave marker for Blaze the horse. (Photo provided)
After Darrington woman’s horse died, she didn’t know what to do

Sidney Montooth boarded her horse Blaze. When he died, she was “a wreck” — and at a loss as to what to do with his remains.

A fatal accident the afternoon of Dec. 18 near Clinton ended with one of the cars involved bursting into flames. The driver of the fully engulfed car was outside of the vehicle by the time first responders arrived at the scene. (Whidbey News-Times/Submitted photo)
Driver sentenced in 2021 crash that killed Everett couple

Danielle Cruz, formerly of Lynnwood, gets 17½ years in prison. She was impaired by drugs when she caused the crash that killed Sharon Gamble and Kenneth Weikle.

A person walks out of the Everett Clinic on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The Everett Clinic changing name to parent company Optum in 2024

The parent company says the name change will not affect quality of care for patients in Snohomish County.

Tirhas Tesfatsion (GoFundMe) 20210727
Lynnwood settles for $1.7 million after 2021 suicide at city jail

Jail staff reportedly committed 16 safety check violations before they found Tirhas Tesfatsion, 47, unresponsive in her cell.

A person walks in the rain at the Port of Everett in Everett, Washington on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
First heavy rain event predicted Sunday night for Snohomish County

Starting Sunday evening, 1 to 1½ inches of rain is expected in western Washington. It marks the end of fire season, meteorologists said.

Clinton man, 61, dies in motorcycle crash Friday

Washington State Patrol lists speed as the cause. No other people or vehicles were involved.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Separate road rage incident ends with fatal shooting in Lake Stevens

A man, 41, died at the scene in the 15300 block of 84th Street NE. No arrests have been made.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and law enforcement partners advise the public of of colorful fentanyl.  (Photo provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration)
After rainbow fentanyl pills found in Tulalip, police sound alarms

Investigators are concerned the pastel-colored pills may end up in the hands of children.

Most Read