Oklahoma serial killings suspect faces New Orleans murder charge

Friday, January 21st 2005, 8:53 am
By: News On 6

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ An Oklahoma man already suspected of killing several women in at least three states now faces a first-degree murder charge in New Orleans, where detectives linked him to the killing of a prostitute last year.

New Orleans detectives on Thursday obtained a first-degree murder arrest warrant for Jeremy Bryan Jones, 31, already in custody and facing a possible death sentence in Mobile, Ala., if convicted there of killing a 44-year-old woman. Jones will likely face trial here after he's prosecuted in Mobile, New Orleans Police Capt. Anthony W. Cannatella Sr. said.

``We feel confident that we have the right person,'' Cannatella said.

New Orleans investigators who interviewed Jones describe him as a user of crystal methamphetamine but otherwise an unremarkable person, one who enjoys talking about hunting. Jones is a former construction worker from Miami, Okla., whom police describe as a drifter.

``He seems normal'' in interviews, Sgt. Jeff Walls said.

Police released 12 photographs of Jones Thursday that show him often changing his appearance. In one he has blonde hair, in others it is dark; some show him with facial hair, others without; in some he appears well-fed, in others he is gaunt _ probably the result of drug use, Walls said.

Jones is accused in New Orleans of raping and killing Katherine Collins, 46, whose body was found last February in a grassy lot about a block from the truckers' entrance to the Port of New Orleans. Because the body had decomposed, detectives could not identify her until October, after a forensic anthropologist reconstructed Collins' face.

The brutality of that murder _ Collins was raped, stabbed and beaten to death with a tire iron _ helped New Orleans police to link it to other killings in which Jones is a suspect, Walls said. Like Collins, all those victims were white and were killed with extreme violence.

In Georgia, Jones is charged in the death of 16-year-old Amanda Greenwell of Douglas County, whose remains were found in April. At the time, Jones lived in Douglasville under an alias, police said.

The teens disappeared the night the bodies of Ashley's parents, Danny Freeman, 40, and his wife Kathy, 38, were discovered in their torched mobile home in Welch.

The sheriff of Craig County, Okla., said this week that Jones is also a suspect in the disappearance of two 16-year-old girls who have been missing since December, 1999, when the parents of one of the teens were found murdered inside their mobile home.

Authorities say Jones was in the Welch, Okla., area when the teens were abducted from the home. He had been arrested on drug and alcohol charges about 18 miles from the crime scene, but he has not been charged in the killings.

Police released no details about what linked Jones to the New Orleans killing. They said they are awaiting DNA test results taken from Jones' vehicle, but added they did not need the results to prove that he killed Collins.

A grand jury will probably begin looking into the New Orleans charges against Jones in February, Cannatella said, and he could go on trial here in a year.

Jones' court-appointed lawyer has indicated his client is mentally unstable. Lawyer Habib Yazdi also said he would seek to have the Mobile trial moved because of news media attention.