Abuser of spouse receives 49 years

Posted: 1st July 2011 by Doc in Uncategorized
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Calling the case “the latest in a long string of monuments to meth,” a Lane County judge on Tuesday sentenced 32-year-old Dorothy Grace Jones to 49 years in prison for torturing her mentally ill elderly husband.

Jones, who married the 65-year-old man shortly after answering his newspaper ad for a roommate last year, stood before Circuit Judge Bryan Hodges and dabbed tears from her eyes before saying she was sorry for burning, cutting and beating her husband so she could use his money for methamphetamine.

“I am sorry for my actions,” she told Hodges. “I can tell you they wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t involved in meth.”

But Deputy Lane County District Attorney Debra Vogt noted that Jones has at least 17 criminal convictions beginning at age 15 and never completed any court-ordered drug treatment or other reform program.

“Somebody with this criminal history who commits these horrific crimes frankly shouldn’t walk free again,” Vogt said.

Hodges, who presided over Jones’ jury trial in June, sentenced Jones to one year more than Vogt had requested.

“You are a criminal of the worst type,” the judge told Jones. He said she “took full sadistic advantage” of her husband’s age and mental condition, expecting that he wouldn’t report the crimes or that he wouldn’t be believed if he did. The two are now divorced.

“If it had not been for a concerned neighbor and some sensitive work by Eugene police officers, you might have gotten away with it,” Hodges said. Her “campaign of torture” would challenge even the imagination of horror novelist Stephen King, he said.

The 12-member jury saw a scissors and two knives that had been heated over candles and used to inflict 78 third-degree burns on the man’s chest and torso over many occasions. They also saw photos of the man, his eyes blackened and swollen shut from what Jones claimed was an accidental fall at their Eugene home.

Jones first came under suspicion when her husband was hospitalized with a stab wound to his leg. Investigators later determined Jones also had crushed his hands with heavy blows using the edge of a clipboard, according to court records.

The jury convicted Jones of first-degree assault for the burns and two counts of second-degree assault for the knife wound and clipboard attack. They also convicted her of criminal mistreatment and menacing. In a separate case, Jones pleaded guilty to third-degree assault for spitting on a deputy while in jail.

The victim declined to speak in court. After the hearing, he said the sentence was just.

“Every time she burned me, she looked me straight in the eye. Eye to eye,” he said.

Hodges invoked laws that allow judges to double the normal sentence for a crime when a defendant is deliberately cruel or when the victim is vulnerable and suffers permanent injuries. He said the crimes were all separate and consecutive.

“So will your punishments be,” he said, announcing his decision to impose the maximum possible prison term on each count, back to back.

While most of the sentence falls under Oregon’s Measure 11 mandatory sentencing law and cannot be reduced for any reason, some of it doesn’t. Vogt estimated that Jones could earn some time off her sentence, but will serve at least 40 years in prison.

Defense lawyer Herbert Evans objected to the severity of the sentence. He said Jones ran away from home at age 14 because of sexual abuse, but he didn’t go into details about her past. He suggested that her case might serve as a warning for others who are making similar decisions about drugs and lifestyles.

“I am convinced there has been a real change in her in jail. I believe she will use her prison time to help others,” Evans said. “She feels bad about it.”


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