Jones, 19, was indicted on a charge of first-degree murder in the case last June. Judge Herbert Dixon accepted the plea to the lesser charge of second-degree murder Wednesday, but before doing so questioned Jones extensively about the events that occurred on October 15, 2011, the day Gray was shot and killed.
Jones said that he and Gray were standing outside in the 2500 block of High Street Southeast smoking a cigarette when he started “hallucinating and hearing voices.”
His story was then cut short.
Before Jones could continue with his recount of events, his defense attorney, Eugene Ohm, whispered something in his ear. After a brief conversation between Jones and his attorney, Judge Dixon asked Jones why he shot Gray.
“I feared for my life,” Jones said. “I’ve always had paranoid issues.”
Jones was initially found incompetent to stand trial for the alleged offenses against him by the District of Columbia Department of Mental Health. But in October, mental health workers at Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital determined that Jones was exaggerating his symptoms, and that he was fit to continue with court proceedings.
Dixon said Wednesday that he was satisfied that Jones was aware and knowledgeable of the plea agreement.
According to the government’s proffer of facts, Jones and Gray had attended a birthday party in the 2500 block of High Street SE, and minutes before the shooting witnesses heard Jones say that “he had a problem” with Gray.
As the two men stood outside a few feet away from each other, Jones pulled a gun from his waistband and fired a shot at Gray.
Gray turned and ran toward Howard Road, the documents say, and Jones continued shooting until Gray dropped to the ground on his back. Jones then fled the scene on foot.
Gray later died at the hospital from eight gunshot wounds to his body.
Jones is scheduled to be sentenced June 19. The plea agreement states that attorneys have agreed to request a sentence between 16-19 years in prison.
Plea documents have been added to this post.