A York City man who drew the attention of homicide detectives when he described to reporters — in bloody detail — the crime scene of his slain next-door neighbor has pleaded no contest to murder.
Alesia "Bip" Martin, 42, was stabbed about 40 times while in the bedroom of her 879 Fahs St. home on May 16, 2011. York City Police said Jovon D. Jones, who at the time lived at the attached 881 Fahs St., slipped in Martin's home through an unlocked door.
Jones had been charged with first-degree murder, but that charge was dismissed as part of a negotiated plea agreement, according to court records.
Third-degree murder: Instead, he pleaded no contest to third-degree murder, theft, abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and making unsworn falsifications, for a total sentence of 25 to 50 years in state prison, with credit for time served.
Jones has been held in York County Prison since May 20, 2011, according to prison records. Defendants who plead no contest aren't admitting guilt. Rather, they are saying they don't contest the charges against them. Otherwise, a no-contest plea has the same effect as a guilty plea.
As part of his sentence, Jones also must undergo a mental-health evaluation and comply with any recommended treatment or counseling, court records state.
Jones went on trial for first-degree murder and related offenses last summer, but the presiding judge declared a mistrial when the prosecution accidentally mentioned another burglary for which had been accused, but later cleared.
The background: Jones caught the attention of detectives after telling The York Dispatch and other media outlets he helped Martin's family members get into her home and find her body. Jones described the crime scene in great detail to reporters.
Martin's loved ones saw those media reports, knew Jones hadn't viewed the crime scene while they were with him and alerted detectives, police have said.
In a videotaped police interview, Jones eventually admitted he had a blackout but remembers being in Martin's room while it was dark out, and remembers her screaming and falling down.
Hidden phone: While searching Jones' townhouse, investigators found the victim's cell phone hidden in Jones' bedroom closet, and also found high concentrations of blood, including on a bucket and mop and on Jones' clothing, documents state.
DNA testing showed that blood was consistent with the victim's DNA.
Jones made efforts to clean up the crime scene as well, police said.
Neither public defender James Rader, who represented Jones, nor chief deputy prosecutor Tim Barker returned messages seeking comment.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org.