LUCAS COUNTY, Ohio (Court TV) — A man accused of helping his teenage girlfriend kill his mother before running away with her to Mexico appeared in court on Wednesday for a competency hearing, which was continued.
Jonathon Jones, 34, is charged with murder, robbery and abuse of a corpse in the death of his mother, Nicole Jones, and has pleaded not guilty. Jones was the subject of a nationwide manhunt following his mother’s murder when he and his then-17-year-old girlfriend, Kaitlyn Coones, disappeared.
Police first went to Nicole Jones’ home in Toledo on May 5 but were unable to find her, according to a news release from the Sylvania Township Police Department, which said that “subsequent information gathered indicated that Ms. Jones is the victim of a homicide.”
Patty Wardrop, the assistant prosecutor on the case, told WTVG that both Jonathon and the teenager had been staying at his mother’s home. “And one day they abruptly leave, disappear, but while [Coones] is on the road, she calls a case worker to inform that she has done something terrible.”
At a preliminary hearing, prosecutors said that evidence would show that Jonathon and the teen were in a relationship and that Coones gave him an ultimatum to “take care of” his mother due to her interference in their relationship, Scripps News Cleveland reported. Investigators said that when Jonathon did not kill his mother in the time frame provided, Coones took matters into her own hands: strangling the older woman before repeatedly hitting her with a rock.
While the victim’s body was allegedly wrapped in a tarp and put in a dumpster, it has never been recovered.
At the hearing, attorneys for Coones said that their client was a victim of Jonathon Jones, who was not supposed to have any contact with her.
Court records obtained by Court TV indicate that Coones had previously pleaded guilty to endangering children and attempting to commit pandering obscenities after he took Coones from a “medical facility” in Columbus in Oct. 2022. Police said when he was arrested, they found videos of the couple having sex on his phone. In that case, he was sentenced to 36 months of prison and required to register as a sex offender.
Coones was charged as an adult, according to Scripps News Cleveland. Court officials told Court TV that she has not yet been indicted, and all paperwork in her case remains in the custody of the juvenile system.
Jones’ competency hearing was rescheduled until Jan. 17.