A 29-year-old Tacoma man has been convicted of killing an acquaintance whose body he later dismembered for disposal.
Pierce County Judge Bryan Chushcoff found John Ben Jones Jr. guilty of second-degree murder after a bench trial in Superior Court. Chushcoff announced his decision Tuesday.
Jones is to be sentenced April 11.
Prosecutors charged him with first-degree murder in March 2012 after his mother noticed a foul smell coming from her son’s bedroom and alerted police. Investigators found the decomposing body of 54-year-old Wayne Williams lying atop a mattress in Jones’ bedroom inside the family home in the 2300 block of Tacoma Avenue South.
Williams’ legs, head and one arm had been severed with a handsaw and stored in plastic bags, court records show. Police theorized Jones cut up the body to spirit it out of the house, which he shared with relatives.
Medical examiners said it appeared Williams was strangled and that he had wounds on his hands, indicating he’d fought with his attacker.
Jones told police he awoke from a drug-induced stupor to find Williams dead. He said the victim, a reputed drug dealer, might have been killed by someone to whom he owed money, court records show.
Police said they found no evidence to suggest that, and Chushcoff rejected that argument in convicting Jones of the murder.
The judge also did not believe the prosecution proved the premeditation necessary to convict Jones of first-degree murder.
“To this trier of fact, everything about the death suggests it was the product of a sudden, violent argument between the two men, over what I cannot say,” Chushcoff wrote in his decision.Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644 firstname.lastname@example.org