Triple homicide suspect Ryan Jones appears in court for first time
AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -
Richmond County Magistrate Court Judge Stephen Shepard read Ryan Jones his rights and his charges Tuesday afternoon.
Investigators believe Ryan Jones shot and killed his parents, Edna and Roosevelt Jones, and his brother Russell Jones in their home on Pinnacle Place Drive last Tuesday.
Investigators say he then took their bodies to a wooded area and set them on fire.
His surviving family members were in the courtroom as Jones appeared before a judge for the first time.
The only time Jones spoke was to tell the judge, "No sir." He was asked if he had any questions.
Judge Shepard deferred Jones' bond to Superior Court.
The Richmond County Sheriff's Office now says a person of interest held in connection to the suspected triple murder of the Jones Family is now the suspect in the case. Even more shocking: it's their own flesh and blood.
Ryan David Jones is now accused of shooting his parents, Edna and Roosevelt, and brother Russell, before burning their bodies.
The Sheriff's Office says the charred bodies of the three were found in a wooded area of South Augusta on Tuesday. Following the discovery, they say they received a call from another son, Steve, who asked the Sheriff's Office to check on his family at their Pinnacle Place home.
What followed was a gruesome discovery: investigators say they found large amounts of blood in the home and say they quickly realized this was the scene of a murder.
Pinnacle Place residents quickly caught wind of the news, like neighbor of 21 years, Thirteen Bing. She's says their slaying still hasn't set in.
"It really hurts to know that your neighbors, good neighbors, neighbors that look out for each other, are gone," she said.
Bing says the murder allegations made against Ryan Jones are unbelievable.
"That's really horrific and it's sad, I just don't believe that," she said. "I don't know anything about that. I really don't. And I'm hoping and praying that is not true."
And if the accusations do ring true, Bing says there was no indication of this sort of tragedy unfolding.
"They were good parents, and I know in my heart they brought their kids up the right way. And for whatever reason, if he did that, I just pray for him. Because I know he's hurting too as well."
Bing says she's also hurting, from the loss of neighbors she also called friends.
The Richmond County Sheriff's Office has been investigating after three burned bodies were found in a wooded area of the Walton Farms subdivision on Tuesday. Investigators say a fire, probably intentionally set, charred the bodies so badly beyond recognition, they can't confirm their identities yet.
"The bodies sustained fire damage to the fact that we will not feel comfortable doing facial recognition," said Sheriff Richard Roundtree.
Investigators believe the family may have been killed at their home on Pinnacle Place Drive, then brought to what they're calling a "secondary crime scene" in Walton Farms. They're now looking into how the bodies got there.
"We are trying to confirm that through forensic evidence," said Roundtree. "We have indeed seized cars in reference to this case. Forensic evidence will definitively let us know."
Despite crime scene tape surrounding the Jones' South Augusta home, friends have been showing up to express their grief. Ruth Hernandez and Mylin Martin say Edna Jones was their beloved teacher, before she retired, and that she changed their lives.
"Such a wonderful person is gone now," said Martin. "And she really was a wonderful teacher. And very helpful to me when I was being bullied."
The mother and daughter say they are now realizing they'll never get the chance to smile or laugh with Mrs. Jones again.
"If my day was bad, and I saw her, she would light my day up," said Martin. "And just to think someone would do something like this, it makes you think, 'why.' Why her, why them? It's just hard to know why somebody would do that. It really is."