Jury convicts man in 1990 road rage killing
A D.C. Superior Court jury took less than two hours on Monday to find a Silver Spring man guilty of second-degree murder in the 1990 shooting death of the son of a retired District homicide detective in an early case of road rage.
The jury -- after a four-day trial -- found John B. Holmes, 40, guilty in the fatal shooting of Ronald Jones Jr. 22, during an argument on the evening of July 13, 1990. Holmes, standing next to his attorneys, showed no emotion as the verdict was read.
During her closing arguments earlier Monday morning, Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Haines called Holmes a “remorseless killer” and urged the jury to give Jones’s family closure after 20 years. “Justice delayed is not justice denied,” Haines said.
Jones had just graduated from Norfolk State University, where he was the football team’s star quarterback. He was driving with three friends, when he got into an argument with another driver in the 400 block of Massachusetts Avenue NW. Jones, who was preparing to enter Howard University’s law school, was shot four times, once in the mouth, by the other driver.
Haines reminded the jury of the sobbing testimony of one of Jones’s friends who was in the car when Jones was shot to death. The friend had identified Holmes as the shooter after viewing a police photo 17 years later.
She also reminded the jury of the testimony of one of Holmes’s childhood friends, Rodney Hunt, who was driving a car behind Holmes when he saw his friend get into a dispute with Jones and pull out a .357 magnum and begin shooting. Hunt waited until 2003 to tell police what he saw. Holmes was charged with Jones’s murder in 2008.
Holmes’s attorneys, including Lloyd Nolan of the District’s Public Defender Service, argued there was no physical evidence or DNA linking Holmes to the crime scene. Nolan also called the identifications from the two main witnesses questionable. Last week, officials picked Nolan as one of the court’s newest magistrate judges.
Outside the courtroom Jones’s father, Ronald Jones, Sr., a retired District homicide detective who testified at his son’s murder trial, said he was “overwhelmed” by the verdict. “It’s been a long time to see justice get done,” he said.
Holmes is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 29 by Judge Michael L. Rankin.
Washington Post editors
July 19, 2010; 4:53 PM ET
Categories: District of Columbia , From the Courthouse , Homicide , Keith L. Alexander
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