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Competency an issue in 2011 Washington City shootings

Published December 5, 2012 10:00 am

Courts • Richard Andrew Jones is accused of shooting his stepson and wife before turning the gun on himself.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The question of whether Richard Andrew Jones is competent to stand trial for killing his wife and stepson in 2011 has delayed court proceedings for the 48-year-old Washington City man.

On Feb. 18, 2011, Jones' wife, 42-year-old Michelle Jones, called 911 to say her husband had just shot her son, 19-year-old Owen Christopher Ellis, and was now coming after her.

Then the phone call ended.

Police found Ellis and Michelle Jones dead of gunshot wounds in their Washington City home. Richard Jones was found in the garage suffering from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head from a .45-caliber pistol. He was treated at a Las Vegas hospital for nearly two months for the injury.

Jones has been charged in St. George's 5th District Court with two first-degree felony counts of aggravated murder, which carries the potential of the death penalty.

But the issue of whether Jones is able to understand and appreciate the charges filed against him has delayed the case from moving forward. Two mental health evaluators have evaluated Jones, and had conflicting conclusions. On Nov. 22, a third person was requested to evaluate the man to determine whether he is competent.

On Tuesday, a new evaluation hearing was scheduled for Jones on Feb. 19, which will be the day after the two year anniversary of the shootings.

jmiller@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jm_miller