Jones was tried and received his death sentence at a time when the attention of the world was focused on another case unfolding on the same floor of Los Angeles downtown courthouse -- the O.J. Simpson murder trial. Simpson, who had assembled a legal "dream team," was acquitted; Jones was represented by a public defender.
Jones was convicted and sentenced to death for raping and killing his girlfriend's mother, Julia Miller, a 50-year-old defense industry accountant.
During the trial, Jones was portrayed as the product of a broken home with alcoholic parents. An aunt described his childhood as "a living hell." He grew up in poverty, and his parents used drugs in front of the children and battled violently. His mother beat him and his siblings. He developed a drug habit of his own, which included marijuana and cocaine.
He told witnesses that he had heard voices and experienced flashbacks during the year before the slaying. He said the victim confronted him over his treatment of her daughter and pointed a rifle at him, which caused him to flash back to violent incidents in his childhood, according to the state Supreme Court opinion affirming his conviction.
The court record indicates that Jones had spent several years in prison for raping the mother of a previous girlfriend.
The California Supreme Court in 2003 upheld the conviction of Jones on first-degree murder and rape charges.