Woman admits killing husband, tells jury act was self-defense

December 04, 1997|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

Teresa J. Jones admitted to a jury yesterday that she killed her estranged husband, but said she did it in self-defense, after months of abuse that left her in fear for her life.

Jones, 31, is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Steven L. Jones in his White Hall home Nov. 10, 1996. Yesterday, Mrs. Jones was described by Bethesda psychologist Mary Ann Dutton as a victim of post-traumatic stress disorder and severe physical domestic violence.

Dutton, who examined Mrs. Jones after the slaying, told a Baltimore County jury that she reached her conclusions after Mrs. Jones told her of many incidents of violence at the hands of her husband.

Mrs. Jones also took the stand yesterday, testifying that her husband's unfounded jealousy caused him to hit, push and choke her during their 11-month marriage and wave a gun at her while threatening to shoot himself during their arguments. She never pressed criminal charges against him.

She also said he threatened her on their honeymoon, saying that "he would make people think I was crazy and he could have me committed because he was now my husband," she told prosecutor Stephen Bailey under cross-examination.

Mrs. Jones's lawyer, Franklin Freeman, told the jury in his opening statement this week that "our defense is a simple defense. It's self-defense. [She] was an abused spouse, a victim."

But the prosecutor described Mrs. Jones not as a victim but as an "incredibly possessive, controlling, jealous and manipulative" wife who called her husband repeatedly at work to accuse him of cheating and once asked him to take a lie-detector test to prove he was faithful.

Bailey and co-prosecutor Jill D. Pickett have portrayed Mrs. Jones as an alcoholic who was unfaithful.

On cross-examination by Bailey yesterday, Mrs. Jones denied testimony from prosecution witnesses that she cheated on her husband, aimed a gun at him once before the slaying and was so jealous that she claimed to have had a strange hair found on her husband tested to see if it belonged to another woman.

"I don't know how many times I shot him," Mrs. Jones said, explaining that she remembered seeing her husband covered with blood and falling, but not shooting him or hearing the shots.

The Joneses were separated at the time of the shooting in the 2400 block of Garrett Road.

Pub Date: 12/04/97

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