Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Police: Pinellas Trail murder suspect's story kept changing

Police have arrested Dewayne Jones, 18, of Clearwater in the death of a 41-year-old woman whose body was found Saturday (8.9.14)  in a ditch near the Pinellas Trail.

Police have arrested Dewayne Jones, 18, of Clearwater in the death of a 41-year-old woman whose body was found Saturday (8.9.14) in a ditch near the Pinellas Trail.

CLEARWATER — A teenager accused of robbing and killing a 41-year-old woman along the Pinellas Trail last week told detectives a series of stories to explain why the victim's wallet turned up inside his home, according to court records released Wednesday.

Before Dewayne Xavier Jones, 18, was arrested on a first-degree murder charge Tuesday, he was questioned by two detectives at Clearwater police headquarters Sunday night, a day after Lydia Ann Tross was found in a ditch north of Fairmont Street.

Jones told them he found Tross' wallet on the trail, picked it up and took it home, about a mile away on Betty Lane. He denied seeing Tross' body, records show.

On Monday, detectives conducted a second interview with Jones, who told them a different story. The teen said he had seen the body, but didn't know why she was dead. He sifted through her purse and removed the wallet.

"Jones' chain of events continued to evolve," wrote Detective Christopher Lyons in court records.

In a third version, Jones admitted he was involved, along with a friend named "CJ," documents showed. Jones told detectives he and CJ concocted a plan to rob someone on the trail: CJ would assault the victim and Jones would steal their belongings.

The pair saw Tross at about dusk Aug. 5, Jones told detectives. Then CJ punched her and removed her purse, which he handed to Jones.

Records do not indicate how Tross was assaulted, but records show detectives searched Jones' house for any "sharp knifelike objects." They recovered several items, including three knives and black Adidas sneakers.

Police linked Jones to Tross' slaying after a relative who lives in his house found a wallet inside a drawer in a room used by Jones. The relative showed it to another family member, who Googled the name on the license and realized it belonged to Tross, according to records.

Jones, along with a family member, turned in the wallet and license to the Sheriff's Office station in Dunedin, and deputies called Clearwater police. Jones remained Wednesday at the Pinellas County Jail without bail.

Times staff writer Claire Wiseman contributed to this report. Contact Laura C. Morel at [email protected] or (727) 445-4157. Follow @lauracmorel.

Police: Pinellas Trail murder suspect's story kept changing 08/13/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 9:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay small businesses give Tampa B+ for regulatory climate

    Corporate

    In a recent survey about small business sentiments toward state and local government policies that affect them, Tampa Bay ranked at No. 25 out of 80 — a B+ overall.

    Tampa Bay ranked No. 25 out of 80 in a recent survey about how small business owners feel about state and local government policies that affect them. | [Times file photo]
  2. Dirk Koetter to Bucs: Take your complaints to someone who can help

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was just another day of aching bellies at One Save Face.

    Dirk Koetter: “All of our issues are self-inflicted right now.”
  3. Seminole Heights murders: fear and warnings, but no answers

    Crime

    TAMPA — Interim Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan elicited loud gasps from the crowd of about 400 who showed up at Edison Elementary School on Monday night to learn more about the string of unsolved killings that have left the southeast Seminole Heights neighborhood gripped by fear.

    Kimberly Overman, left, comforts Angelique Dupree, center, as she spoke about the death of her nephew Benjamin Mitchell, 22, last week in Seminole Heights. The Tampa Police Department held a town hall meeting Monday night where concerned residents hoped to learn more about the investigation into the three shooting deaths over 11 days in southeast Seminole Heights. But police could give the crowd at Edison Elementary School few answers. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. Juvenile justice reform seen as help for teen car theft problem

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — One of Tampa Bay's largest religious organizations has decided to make reforming the juvenile justice system one of its top priorities for next year.

    One of Tampa Bay's largest religious organizations, Faith & Action for Strength Together (FAST), voted Monday night to make reforming the juvenile justice system one of its top priorities for next year. FAST believes civil citations could help Pinellas County?€™s teen car theft epidemic by keeping children out of the juvenile justice system for minor offenses. [ZACHARY T. SAMPSON  |  Times]
  5. U.S. general lays out Niger attack details; questions remain (w/video)

    War

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Special Forces unit ambushed by Islamic militants in Niger didn't call for help until an hour into their first contact with the enemy, the top U.S. general said Monday, as he tried to clear up some of the murky details of the assault that killed four American troops and has triggered a nasty …

    Gen. Joseph Dunford said much is still unclear about the ambush.