Skip to comments.Accusation of "Conflict of Interest" Backfires in NAU Self Defense Trial
Posted on 06/07/2018 4:16:42 AM PDT by marktwain
Almost three years ago, Steven Jones, an 18-Year-Old freshman at the Northern Arizona University at Flagstaff, and his two friends, were attacked by a drunken mob of fraternity members. One fraternity member ran up to Jones and sucker punched him. Jones friends were down on the ground defending themselves. The fraternity members chased him. Jones ran to his car and retrieved a legally owned and transported Glock pistol. One drunk fraternity member came at him and he fired, killing that member and wounding two others.
According to evidence presented at the first trial, there is little dispute about those facts. The main contention is whether Steven Jones was justified in shooting.
The incident happened on 18 October, 2015. It was characterized as a school shooting by the media and the University. Jones was charged with first degree murder.
Steven Jones cooperated with authorities from the beginning. Police video from the scene shows that. The video was initially withheld from the jury because it was "prejudicial". All of Jones attackers were legally intoxicated with alcohol. Most of them had traces of marijuana in their blood. Jones had neither. After the jury was allowed to see a partial transcript of the police video, the trial ended in a hung jury and mistrial.
Here is a link to the police bodycam video.
Parents of one the students who was shot by Jones filed allegations of conflict of interest of Jones attorneys in the case. The tactic backfired. The attorneys have said they cannot realistically continue the defense while under threat of removal because of the conflict of interest charges. The conflict of interest charge has delayed the second trial.
The earliest date for the second trial of Steven Jones is now sometime in October of 2018. From azdailysun.com:
A jury in Steven Jones' first trial deadlocked on murder and aggravated assault charges, and he had been scheduled for a retrial in July.
However, Coconino County Superior Court Judge Dan Slayton granted a request from two of his attorneys to push back the date but didn't immediately set a new one. Jones remains free during the process.
The attorneys said Jones doesn't want other counsel, but they can't focus on his case while the State Bar of Arizona investigates a conflict of interest allegation against them filed by one of the victims.
Slayton said he considered the impact of asking lawyers Bruce Griffen and Ryan Stevens to withdraw, leaving in place a third defense attorney who has said he doesn't feel confident taking on the case alone. Slayton said that could lead to claims of ineffective counsel and potentially a third trial.
The facts presented seem to indicate a pretty clear case of self defense. What we haven’t heard was if the victims did anything to provoke the incident. In any case even if found innocent the legal bills will be crippling.
Just for the record, William P. Ring is the Coconino County Attorney, and is a Democrat.
The power to prosecute is the power to destroy.
Think Duke Lacrosse, among other high-profile cases.
The Coconino County prosecutors have leaned strongly anti-self defense for quite a while.
I agree it was self defense. For the sake of argument however, if he reached his car to retrieve his weapon, did he have the option to leave the fracas instead of shooting?
At our fraternity one morning, a bunch of us came into our house to find a group of four guys stealing our house stereo equipment.
They took off running. With us in chase. We caught them after a several block chase as they were getting into their car.
Of course we beat the crap out of them. But if one had pulled a gun, wed have been in a mess!
It reads like he got his gun to defend himself AND go back to defend his friends. Even though he had his gun out, one frat thug still came at him. That indicates to me justification. If it was him alone and he could have driven off but decided not to, which is NOT how I understand what happen, that could be seen differently.
Sounds to me like some fraternity member are guilty of murder in commission of a crime.
They should. Almost anywhere else in AZ, they would. But this is a university town. All bets are off.
These were attackers, drunk, not victims. How does the victim get his reputation back, recover financially, resume and recover his life?
The video was initially withheld from the jury because it was “prejudicial”.
It was prejudicial to the dirtbags who started the confrontation. If he had competent defense, the video would have been brought out in the discovery process. By not allowing ALL evidence, the judge and the DA showed their true colors.
The defense should have sought a recusal by the judge.
Race of attackers = ???? No photo’s of the attackers?
In other news, the Denver Uber driver who shot his passenger who had allegedly been assaulting him as he was driving on I-25 is still in jail on a no bond hold. No charges have been filed against the CCW holder with no criminal background. However this is Denver and this DA will search high and low to find a way to charge this man for daring to defend himself with a firearm.
The paucity of facts in the article leaves us able to do little ore than speculate and pose questions. How many frat boys were in this “mob” versus how many in Jones group? When did this occur? Where? Any prior contact of the groups? Who & what set it off? Were Jones and his group also drunk or stoned?
Did Jones’ attorneys make much of the fact that the “sucker-punch”, presumably to the head, likely affected Jones’ perception, judgement, and sense of danger of death/great bodily harm?
That alone creates a lot of reasonable doubt that he formed malicious intent, and supports self-defense. Absent better info, I the Jury would have to conclude that the attackers brought this on themselves and are responsible for the death of their “brother”.
A minor point. Jones at age 18 cannot legally buy or possess a handgun in the US. Begs questions like: Whose Glock was it? Age of owner? Why were college kids cruising with a loaded gun?
The article is one in a series. There are dozens of articles on the case.
There are links.
It is a mis-perception that people ages 18 may not buy or possess handguns in the United States.
If you are 18 years old, you can legally possess handguns in most states. You are not allowed to purchase handguns from a federally licensed dealer.
In Arizona, and in over half of states, 18 year olds can openly carry handguns without a license.
Even if he had the option of leaving, he would have left his friends were down on the ground, defending themselves from a larger mob, who had already attacked him (sucker punch is a pejorative term to me indicating no provocation for the attack). He may of have the OPTION to flee, but no such duty - and in fact, had a DUTY to help his friends, who were under attack.
The question is - did these guys do something BEFORE being physically assaulted/attacked by the fraternity brothers? (Did they saw, steal some wallets, beat up someone, rape a sorority sister?)
From my reading of the case it was a case of mistaken identity.
The fraternity brothers mistook them for another three people.
Then, it seems that this should be a simple self-defense case, and that’s that.
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