Teens held following death of Broken Arrow man

Monday, September 29th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A case that started with teenagers stealing beer and ended with the death of a respected husband, father and grandfather. News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright says the surprising twist has the family looking for forgiveness, not revenge.

Bill Jones had been married to the same woman for 32 years. They have four children and nine grandchildren, a close-knit family, involved in church and the Broken Arrow community.

Bill saw some kids in his yard at 11:30 Saturday night, he discovered they'd slipped through his gate, pushed open the side door of his garage and stolen some beer.

The same thing that had happened just a month ago, so he chased after them. Gabi, Bill's wife; "He put on his clothes and I said where are you going? And, he said there are some kids out there and I heard him hollering after them." She followed him and when she couldn't find him, got worried, a neighbor found Bill, collapsed in a driveway, he'd had a heart attack, it was his third one.

Even though the boys were only stealing beer, the state's felony murder law says if someone dies while you're committing a felony, you could be charged with murder, but Bill's wife says she hopes that's not what happens. "For whoever watches this, the parents, I'm not holding a grudge or anything." She says she hopes the boys aren't charged with murder, she simply wants them to learn their lesson, for everyone to learn a lesson from this.

But police say that may not be enough. Broken Arrow Police Captain Brandon Berryhill, "It's one of those things, you push a rock down a hill, it hurts someone, regardless of your intent, you're still responsible for that rock." While law enforcement sorts all that out, this family is just now beginning to cope with the magnitude of their loss.

Bill’s son Travis Jones, "He was a jokester, always had a joke. He loved his kids and grandkids." The prosecutor told me this afternoon, he's not sure if the felony murder law applies in this case.

As for the burglary charges, since the kids are 14 to 16 years old, some could be tried as adults, others as juveniles. You wonder if the boys saw Bill collapse, if they would've stopped to help him, if he would've lived, but his wife isn't doing that type of second guessing, she says he just feels blessed to have had him as long as she did.