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State makes gory case at man's trial

The state's case against Jonathan Dye Jones unfolds in forensics testimony, crime scene items and videotape.

By CHASE SQUIRES, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 15, 2003

DADE CITY -- Forget the glamor of television's CSI shows, where crime scene technicians grill witnesses and arrest perpetrators.

Pasco County and state forensics examiners wrapped up two days of testimony Monday in the murder trial of Jonathan Dye Jones, offering none of the glamor of television, but all the mundane, gruesome and technical complexities of modern evidence gathering.

One by one, technicians took the witness stand, presenting a tire, plaster casts, bullet fragments, a bloody shirt, shell casings, money, photographs and an eerie, silent videotape of the scene where Florentino Cano died with a bullet hole in his heart.

Authorities say Jones, 36, was working a scam with two crack-addicted women on Jan. 6, 2001, when violence broke out.

According to the state's case, the women were to occupy Cano with sex until one of them could snatch his wallet as Jones waited nearby. When an argument broke out between Cano and one of the women, the state says, Jones walked into the house and shot Cano dead with a .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol.

The women, both felons and both in jail on unrelated charges, testified against Jones on Saturday.

The videotape spoke for itself. Played for jurors Saturday, it provided a gory look at the scene investigators found inside Cano's mobile home on the outskirts of Dade City.

In the tape, Cano lay on the floor, naked from the waist down except for a pair of white socks. A bullet had grazed his skull.

But it wasn't the shot to the head that killed Cano, Dr. Marie Hansen testified Monday. Hansen, a medical examiner, said her autopsy showed that Cano, 47, had been shot four times. Three bullets struck Cano in the upper left chest. One crashed through his lungs, punched a hole in his heart and lodged in his liver.

He likely collapsed in seconds and died moments later, she said.

Jones, charged with first-degree murder, faces life in prison if convicted.

His trial stalled Monday afternoon when Circuit Judge Wayne Cobb gave prosecutors one last chance to edit a videotaped interview Jones gave to investigators before he was charged. Parts of the tape will not be presented to jurors because the detective can be heard discussing an unrelated case and characterizing what other people told him about Jones, Cobb ruled.

The trial is expected to resume this morning.

Jones has been tried for murder before. He was accused of the 1993 killing of his ex-girlfriend, Kathryn Murphy, 36, but was acquitted in 1994.

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