Handyman charged with killing woman in 2013

Marvin Jones, 50, previously charged with pawning woman's stolen jewelry

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Marvin Jones
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Marvin Jones

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man previously charged with pawning jewelry stolen from a murdered 71-year-old woman has now been charged with her killing, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announced Thursday.

Marvin Jones, 50, is charged with murder, burglary, dealing in stolen property and grand theft, Lt. Steve Gallaher said.

He said it appears that Marilyn Alu was killed when Jones attempted to steal her jewelry. She was found strangled in her East Arlington home on Swimming Salmon Place North on Sept. 8, 2013.

Gallaher said evidence shows that Alu's killer entered her home through an unlocked sliding glass door in the back of the home.

Alu had hired a company Jones worked for to do some home improvements around her house, but Jones offered to do the jobs cheaper on the side, Gallaher said.

He said detectives quickly focused their efforts on Jones in the murder and learned that he had a girlfriend named Constance Messina, who pawned jewelry belonging to Alu on Sept. 9, 2013. Jones also pawned Alu's jewelry that day, detectives said.

The couple left Jacksonville for Clewiston, Florida, soon afterward, and when detectives searched a room in which the couple had stayed in Clewiston, they found some of Alu's jewelry in a bag, Gallaher said.

Arrest warrants for Messina and Jones were issued for dealing in stolen property.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Constance Messina
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Constance Messina

A couple of days later, Messina (pictured) was found in Massachusetts and interviewed. She told detectives that Jones gave her the jewelry to pawn and that he told her that he'd bought it from a drug dealer.

She said Jones had relatives in Clewiston.

Messina was extradited to Duval County on Oct. 10, 2013, to face the dealing in stolen property charges. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to about a year in jail. She has since been released.

Just over a month later, a U.S. Marshals Task Force found and arrested Jones in Texas on domestic violence charges out of Brevard County and the dealing in stolen property charge out of Duval County.

Jones pleaded guilty to the domestic violence charge and was sentenced in Brevard County, Gallaher said.

He was extradited to Duval County on Wednesday night and interviewed by detectives, who said he gave statements that conflicted with the evidence, witness statements and his own previous statements, and he was charged with Alu's murder

"The detectives do all they can to stay in contact with the families," Gallaher said. "This is an example that it does take some time sometimes, but eventually we were able to give them some good news."