Bertis Jones

Victim: Bertis Jones, 68

Murderer: Brett Jones, 15

Crime location: Lee County, Mississippi

Crime date: August 9, 2004

From Jones v. Mississippi

Background

At the time of the crime defendant Brett Jones was 15-years-old and living with his grandparents in Lee County, Mississippi. On August 9, 2004, Bertis discovered Jones’s girlfriend in Jones’s bedroom and told her to leave the house. Jones told his girlfriend that he would hurt his granddaddy. Later, Jones stabbed Bertis eight times with a fillet knife. Jones was charged with murder and the case went to trial. Jones argued that he killed his grandfather in self-defense. The jury found him guilty and the court sentenced him to LWOP.

From our SCOTUS brief

SUMMARY OF FACTS AND CASE
In August 2004, 15-year-old Brett Jones was living with his grandparents, Bertis and Madge Jones, in their Mississippi home. Jones v. State, 285 So. 3d 626, 628 (Miss. Ct. App. 2017). Bertis got upset when he discovered Jones’ teenage runaway girlfriend was secretly
living with him in his bedroom. When an argument between the two ensued, Jones stabbed his 68-year-old grandfather with the steak knife he was using to make a sandwich. Ibid. When the steak knife bent, he grabbed a filet knife and continued to stab his grandfather. As
the two struggled, Jones repeatedly stabbed his grandfather. He then tried to conceal the crime when he hid his grandfather’s body in a utility room in the back of the home’s carport, tried to wash the large amount of blood off of his body with a hose, and moved his grandfather’s car over the “puddles of blood” that collected in the carport. Id., at 628-629.

Jones was convicted of murder and was sentenced to life in prison. Id., at 629. Under the parole statute, he was not eligible for parole. Ibid. Following this Court’s opinion in Miller v. Alabama, 567 U. S. 460 (2012), the Mississippi Supreme Court vacated Jones’ sentence and remanded it for a new sentencing hearing. In 2015, the Circuit Court of Lee County conducted a new sentencing hearing and found Jones was not entitled to parole eligibility under Miller. Jones, 285 So. 3d, at 629-631. Jones appealed and the Mississippi Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision. Jones then successfully sought certiorari from the Mississippi Supreme Court. Jones v. State, 250 So. 3d 1269 (Miss. 2018). In November 2018, the court, in a 5-4 decision, voted to dismiss the writ of certiorari finding that there was no need for further review. See App. to Pet. for Cert. 1a-2a