Man sentenced in road-rage slaying
A D.C. Superior Court judge sentenced a Silver Spring man to 15 years to life in prison on Friday after an argument with another driver in 1990 turned deadly.
John B. Holmes, 42, showed no emotion when Judge Michael Rankin sentenced him to prison in connection with the fatal shooting of Ronald Jones Jr. in one of the District's earliest road-rage cases.
Authorities said Jones, 21, and three of his friends were driving in Jones's vehicle and Holmes was in another on the evening of July 13, 1990, when they got into an argument in the 400 block of Massachusetts Avenue NW. According to court records, Holmes pulled out a .357 magnum and shot Jones four times, once in the mouth.
At the emotional sentencing yesterday, Jones's sister, LaQuisha Jones-Campbell, and her two children held up a collage of photos of her brother for Rankin to see as she talked about Jones and his life as the quarterback and captain of Norfolk State University's football team, how he had just graduated two months earlier and was preparing to try out for the Dallas Cowboys, and how he had been accepted into Howard University's law school.
"I remember the phone call that night. The phone call that caused my mother's knees to buckle and sent her crying on the kitchen floor," she said. "I remember four friends out having a good time, not knowing they would cross the path of a cold-blood murderer."
The case was unsolved for almost 20 years. Then, in 2008, a friend of Holmes's who witnessed the shooting finally told authorities. Holmes was charged with second-degree murder. After a July trial, a jury found Holmes guilty.
During Friday's sentencing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Haines told the judge that calling the case a "senseless tragedy" did not "begin to describe how I view this crime." Haines worked on the case with D.C. police detectives Todd Williams and Anthony Brigidini. The three also served as the lead prosecutor and detectives in the 2001 Chandra Levy murder trial, currently being tried in the same courthouse.
As Jones's sister spoke, Haines wiped away tears. After the sentencing, Haines, still weeping, was showered with hugs from Jones's family, including Jones's father, Ronald H. Jones Sr., a retired D.C. police detective.
Jones's mother, Deedra, wept through the proceeding. Afterward, while hugging Haines, Deedra Jones said she hoped Holmes spends the rest of his life in prison.
"We did everything right in raising our children. He was a good son with a future," she said. "It is unbelievable that someone would pull out a gun over something so silly. My family will never be the same."
Keith L. Alexander
| October 29, 2010; 2:39 PM ET
Categories: Homicide, Keith L. Alexander, The District
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