Are we in Hell yet?
In Kansas City, the bi-racial parents of a 7-year-old boy named Adrian Jones, starved, tortured, and murdered their son, then fed his body to pigs.
Tony Rizzo and Laura Bauer report for The Kansas City Star that on May 8 2017, Michael A. Jones, 46, the father of little Adrian, was sentenced to life in prison in Wyandotte County Circuit Court where he had pleaded guilty in March to first-degree felony murder in the death of his 7-year-old son. Under Kansas law, he will have to serve 25 years before he can seek parole.
Jennifer Hoevers, the woman who rented the home to Jones and his family and who found video clips and photos showing the abuse Adrian had suffered, said: “He got off light. And it makes me angry.”
Jones did not speak before he was sentenced. He did not turn and look at other speakers, including Adrian’s maternal grandmother, biological mother and older sister.
Adrian’s maternal grandmother Judy Conway had begged to see Adrian in the 3 to 4 years Jones had custody of the child. At one point in the sentencing hearing, Conway addressed Jones: “I hope for every breath you take for the rest of your life that Adrian is in your thoughts.”
In October 2016, Jones’ wife, and Adrian’s stepmother, Heather Jones, 31, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and child abuse. She was sentenced to the same term of life in prison with no possibility of parole for 25 years for the murder conviction. She was sentenced to an additional five years and eight months in prison for the child abuse.
At Heather Jones’ sentencing, a prosecutor said the boy had essentially starved to death.
The little boy’s remains were found in November 2015 in a barn on property rented by Michael and Heather Jones in the 5200 block of North 99th Street. Police had gone to the house the day before to investigate a domestic disturbance. While there, officers learned that Adrian had not been seen in several months and might have been killed. Surveillance cameras were set up throughout the home and captured the abuse endured by Adrian for months.
During Michael Jones’ sentencing hearing, Detective Stuart Littlefield choked back tears as he described the horrific abuse that Adrian had suffered. Littlefield said he had never seen anything like it in his 23-year law enforcement career. He described how the little boy was shocked with a stun gun by his stepmother, Heather, sometimes for as long as 20 seconds. Littlefield paused for 20 seconds to illustrate how long that was, and said, “Imagine the screams of a 7-year-old boy. Twenty seconds is a very long time when you’re in agony.”
Littlefield said he was speaking not just for Adrian, but in honor of Detective Brad Lancaster, who began investigating the case before he was killed in the line of duty last year. Littlefield said, “Brad was Adrian’s champion…. Brad put everything into this case, but he was murdered before he could see it through.”
Detective Littlefield also said that he sometimes drives past other houses and wonders about other children: “Adrian is gone. We can’t change what happened, and we can’t bring him back. But we can change the future. There are children being abused right now. … We must find these children — for Adrian and for Brad.”
On August 31, 2017, Laura Bauer reports for The Kansas City Star that Adrian’s family members (grandmother Conway, biological mother and an older sister) are suing social workers in Missouri and the child welfare agency in Kansas for not removing the boy from his sadistic parents even though they knew about the abuse.
In Missouri, 10 state employees working for the Department of Social Services have been sued. In Kansas, the state and the Department for Children and Families as well as its director are named in the suit. Also named: the Family Guidance Center of St. Joseph, a Kansas City residential children’s home and workers at both.
The lawsuit says:
“They (the agencies and social workers) meticulously investigated and carefully documented every violent kick, punch, slap and injury inflicted upon A.J. (Adrian) by his sadistic father and stepmother, and generated stacks of records and reports chronicling the ceaseless, stomach-churning abuse.”
Attorney Michaela Shelton said that the only interventions consisted of having the father and stepmother sign a piece of paper “agreeing to stop torturing the child,” which is tantamount to a “pinky swear.”