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Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: His ex-girlfriend threatened to abort his child
Number of victims: 5
Date of murders: August 13, 1997
Date of birth: February 9, 1975
Victims profile: Yolanda Bellamy, 24 (his ex-girlfriend), her two children Nathan Burns Jr., 5, and Nathan Burns III, 3, and her niece and nephew Shanfontah, 3, and Delvontay Bellamy, 5
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Detroit, Michigan, USA
Status: Sentenced to five life terms in prison on April 21, 1998
photo gallery

At the age of 23 Reco Jones was convicted of stabbing an ex-girlfriend, Yolanda Bellamy, and four children to death because she threatened to abort his child.

Yolanda was killed August 13, 1997, after telling him that she was breaking off their relationship and getting an abortion. Jones became enraged and lunged at her with a butcher knife. Yolanda -- who was not pregnant -- was stabbed 11 times. Her sons, ages 3 and 5, her 5-year-old nephew and her 3-year-old niece were stabbed a total of at least 17 times. The niece also was tortured, with 30 shallow puncture wounds.

Jones at first blamed the murders on another girlfriend but admitted helping destroy evidence and clean up the scene.

During cross-examination, Jones went through a series of sarcastic admissions, denials, contradictions, and at one point, he pulled out a piece of paper, called it a script, and said: "I've been acting this out all long. This script I had is just putting me farther in the hole."


Judge gives Reco Jones 5 life terms: one per life

Detroit Free Press

Wednesday, April 22, 1998

The grandmother who has no more grandchildren. The childless mother. The hardened prosecutor who doesn't usually cry. They all had their final say Tuesday to Reco Jones , the man convicted of one of Detroit's most heinous crimes.

They all addressed Jones before Wayne County Circuit Judge Kym Worthy sentenced Jones to five life terms in prison for slashing and torturing his ex-girlfriend and four children to death last summer. Jones, who jumped out the fifth-floor window of a police interrogation room the day after he was arrested and then took the stand during his trial and tried to pin the quintuple murder on his girlfriend, said he was sorry."I apologize for what happened. I didn't mean to kill them," murmured Jones, who inflicted more than 100 stab and torture wounds on his victims in the bloodbath.

The short, skinny waif of a man professed his love for the woman he killed, 24-year-old Yolanda Bellamy. Prosecutors charged he killed her after she lied in saying she had been pregnant and planned an abortion. The children were sacrificed because they knew him."She did so much for me," Jones said. "The reason I took the stand is because I had so much to say and I wanted to say it my way,"Jones said. "I'm sorry for what happened."

Ericka Bellamy, 22, who last summer found the bodies of her two children -- Shafontah Bellamy,3, and Delvontay Bellamy, 5, nephews Nathan Burns Jr., 5, and Nathan Burns III, 3, and her sister, Yolanda, stared straight at Jones."I hate you. I hate the day you were born and I hate the day my sister met you," she said. "Words can't explain how I feel, not now, not ever. But knowing a monster will be locked away until death catches up with you helps me a little." Linda Bellamy, 41, the grandmother of all the dead children, told the court: "No sentence except for death is good enough for what he did. I only hope for the rest of his life Reco can be locked up like the animal that he is."


Reco Jones convicted

The Detroit News

March 31, 1998

MICHIGAN: Relatives of Reco Jones' 5 murder victims huddled tearfully outside the courtroom after he was convicted Monday, arms locked with the prosecutor who helped them get justice.

A long-awaited moment had finally come.

Jones was found guilty of 5 counts of premeditated murder for the stabbings of he ex-girlfriend, her 2 young children and 2 of the youngsters' cousins.

Jones, 23, sat motionless and expressionless when the verdicts were read in Wayne County Circuit Court, just as he had done for most of the trial.

Erick Bellamy -- mother of victims Shafontah, 3 and Delvontay, 5, the 2 visiting cousins-- raised herself up in her chair for a glimpse of Jones' face as the jury foreman read each verdict.

She said later she hoped to see pain in his face, just as her family has felt agony since the quintuple murders Aug. 13, 1997.

Jurors and victims' relatives voiced regret that Michigan lacks a death penalty.

1 juror, a 37-year-old trucker, said that "capital punishment would definitely fit.  It is too bad we are not in Texas." 

Jurors said Jones' own testimony made him appear to have a "Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde" personality and left him with little credibility. 

Defense attorney John McWilliams said grounds for an appeal may exist, but declined to comment further.

McWilliams also expressed condolences to the victims' families.

Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Simowski, who called the case the most tragic of his 16-year tenure a s prosecutor, said Jones has little chance for an appeal.


Michigan v. Reco Jones

"The Family Massacre Trial"

In a case that stunned Detroit, Reco Jones faces trial for five counts of first-degree murder in the slayings of his ex-girlfriend, Yolanda Bellamy, her two children and her young nephew and niece. The children's ages ranged between three and five years-old; all the victims had their throats slashed and suffered multiple stab wounds.

Prosecutors believe that Jones, 23, killed Bellamy because she had ended their relationship the day before. The children were murdered because they witnessed the crime, and Jones allegedly felt he had to kill them. Jones told police that he was at Bellamy's house the night of the murders and argued with her about their relationship. But, Jones said, when he left Bellamy's house, she and the children were still alive. Jones's defense claims that police arrested the wrong man.

However, according to two female friends of Jones whom he allegedly saw hours after the crime, the defendant confessed the murders to them. (One of them even admits to helping him destroy evidence.) And investigators claim that Jones implicated himself during initial questioning for the murders by showing that he knew how the victims died before detectives had even told him about the specific details of the crime scene.

If convicted, Jones could face life in prison.

The Rocky Relationship

Jones and Bellamy began dating in December 1996. Apparently, they were a happy couple until Jones began serving a prison term in January 1997 for aggravated assault during a separate prior incident. Jones was imprisoned for six months. Although Jones and Bellamy maintained contact through phone calls from prison, their relationship eventually became strained. Jones began accusing Bellamy of cheating on him.

When Jones was released from prison, he and Bellamy reunited, but their problems persisted. And Jones began dating at least one other woman in addition to Bellamy. On August 11, 1997, Bellamy ended her relationship with Jones. According to the defendant's mother, Bellamy came to Jones's house and demanded to both see him and retrieve some of her belongings. Jones's mother, who knew that Jones was in the house basement, refused to let Bellamy into the house and asked her to leave. When Bellamy refused, Mrs. Jones called the police.

Bellamy left before police arrived. Mrs. Jones told her son what happened and claimed that she later saw him asleep in the basement at 1:30 in the morning. Mrs. Jones also said she sat in the living room until 4 am and when she awoke at 8 am, her son was not home.

The Slayings and their Various Versions

What happened between after time Mrs. Jones said she last saw Reco Jones is in dispute. Jones gave the police two different accounts of his confrontation with Bellamy after the incident involving his mother. In his first story, Jones told police that he arrived at Bellamy's house between 12:30 and 1 am. According to Jones, Bellamy threatened to kill his mother, brother, and sister, and in response, he began to choke her. However, Jones claimed he released his grip on Bellamy before he could cause any damage and left her as she was still coughing. Then, Jones said, he went home and went to sleep until around 5:45 am when he went to visit another girlfriend, Maliaka Martin.

However, Jones's second version of the events is quite different. He reportedly told one officer that when Bellamy told him that she would not bear his child, he "snapped" and killed her.

Maliaka Martin told police that Jones, whose sneakers were covered in blood, came to her house after the killings and admitted to the murders. According to Martin, Jones said that Bellamy had told him that she would tell her legal husband (and the father of her two sons) that Jones had beaten her and the children. Apparently, the threat triggered a violent response in Jones, and he stabbed Bellamy 11 times. Awakened by the commotion, Bellamy's children and niece and nephew came down the stairs upon the murder scene. Allegedly, Jones told Martin that to avoid leaving witnesses, he had to kill the children.

Martin also told police that she let Jones shower and change his clothes when he came to her house. She then drove him to the house of another friend, Tamikah Terrell. According to Terrell, Jones also confessed Bellamy's murder to her and wanted to use her washing machine to clean his bloody clothes. However, since Terrell did not have a washing machine, she took Jones's clothes, placed them in a garbage can, and helped him burn them.

The Gruesome Discoveries

On August 13, 1997, at around 10:30 am, Bellamy's sister, Ericka, called the victim's house to see when she could pick up her two children, who had been sleeping over at their aunt's place. When no one answered the phone, Ericka drove to the house and knocked on the door. With no one answering the door, Erika peeked through the mailslot and saw her children lying in a pool of blood on the living room floor. She immediately called the building's landlady and 911.

When police arrived, they knocked down the apartment door and discovered the bodies. Yolanda Bellamy and the four children were dead at the scene. All five victims had their throats slashed and suffered at least 11 stab wounds each.

Jones was arrested later that day and kept in police headquarters overnight. According to reports, before investigators even told him how the victims died, Jones implicated himself by telling them, "There's no way I could have stabbed those people." The day after his arrest, Jones jumped out of a window at police headquarters and fell 60 feet to the pavement below. He survived the fall but suffered a fractured elbow and abdominal injuries.

The Court of Public Opinion

The murders of Yolanda Bellamy and the four children outraged many in Detroit. During a pretrial hearing, the defendant's mother needed police to escort her out of the courtroom because family and friends of the victims had threatened to avenge their deaths. It seems that the court of public opinion in Detroit may have already convicted Reco Jones for these five murders. Now his fate lies in the hands of the court of law.

The Verdict

On March 30, 1998, Reco Jones was convicted of five counts of first-degree murder. On April 21, he was sentenced to five consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.

--Bryan Robinson -


Reco Jones - The trial

March 19, 1998 -- "By the end of the trial, we hope to prove to you that someone other than Reco Jones committed these homicides."

Those were the words of John McWilliams, defense attorney for Jones, who faces five counts of first-degree murder for the slayings of his ex-girlfriend Yolanda Bellamy, her two children (Nathan Burns, Jr. and Nathan, III) and her niece and nephew (Shanfontah and Delvontay Bellamy) in August 1997.

McWilliams told jurors that his client may have been with Bellamy during the night of her murder, but he did not kill her. Instead, McWilliams said, one of Jones's girlfriends at the time may have killed Bellamy and the children in a jealous rage. The defense attorney also suggested that jurors would actually hear the testimony of the real murderer.

But to prosecutor Kevin Simowski, Jones is the actual murderer. He portrayed Jones as a manipulative person who had about five girlfriends at the time of the slayings.

Simowski said that the relationship between Jones and Bellamy was not a happy one. In fact, Bellamy did not respect Jones very much and thought that he was not a "man."

Simowski also told jurors that they would hear about an incident where Bellamy slashed Jones's car tires and told him shortly before her death that although she was pregnant with his child, she would not have the baby. (Simowski revealed that Bellamy had deliberately lied to Jones and was not pregnant at all.)

Simowski also suggested for the first time that Jones may have tortured the four young children as he killed them, causing several grimaces and looks of disgust among jurors.

He said that Jones made just one mistake when he tried to cover up his crime. When he tried to wash his hands after the killings, the blood of all five victims combined. Investigators came upon blood stains that matched all the blood types of the victims.

The first victim called to the stand by the prosecution did not want to be identified. She was Jones's girlfriend during July 1997. This witness testified that she thought Yolanda Bellamy was Jones's ex-girlfriend throughout their brief relationship and that Jones acted as though his problems with Bellamy did not bother him. She talked about an incident weeks before the slayings where she saw a female slash Jones's tires but could not see the culprit. She could not identify the tire slasher as Bellamy.

The witness eventually asked Jones about his continuing correspondence with Bellamy and told him that he was "either crazy or still liked her" for still talking to Bellamy.

The state then brought assistant medical examiner Dr. Laning Davidson to the stand as a forensic pathology expert. Dr. Davidson examined the bodies of all five victims after the murders. He concluded from his examinations that all the victims died from multiple stab and slash wounds.

The doctor said that three-year-old Shafontah Bellamy in particular, suffered a lot of injuries: in addition to her 21 stab wounds around her body, she suffered 21 additional wounds around her neck and head. Dr. Davidson said her puncture wounds suggested that she had been tortured.

During cross-examination, the doctor said he could not determine from the wounds whether the attacker was right-handed or left-handed and conceded that the murderer could have been male or female.

Based on the fact that the attacker would have had to overpowered both Yolanda Bellamy and the children, Dr. Davidson said the culprit had to have been an adult.

The last witness for the day was Mary Wade, a neighbor and landlady of the victim. She and Bellamy's sister, Ericka Bellamy, discovered the bodies and called 911.

Wade said she woke sometime in the early morning hours of Aug. 13 to the sound of Yolanda's voice. She thought she heard Yolanda say, "Kids, come into the house.''

Wade said she then went right back to sleep. Later that morning, Wade knocked on Bellamy's door because her plumber had to get access to a valve in the basement. There was no answer.

Ericka, who lived right around the corner, soon came over and both women went to Bellamy's door. Ericka looked through the mail slot in the front door and saw her son, Delvontay, lying on the living room floor in a pool of blood.

She kept looking and looking, Wade said, and then said there must have been an accident. During cross-examination, Wade denied ever telling the police -- as stated in a police report -- that she heard an argument upon waking up. She said that the police were mistaken. After testimony concluded, there was a shouting match between a relative of the victim and a relative of the defendant Jones.

Presiding Judge Kym Worthy chastised members of both families and warned them that they better behave or she will bar them from the rest of the courtroom proceedings.


March 19, 1998 -- Reco Jones's defense began to slowly reveal its strategy as defense attorney John McWilliams brought one of Jones's former girlfriends, Maliaka Martin, to the stand and was able to get her to admit that the victim Yolanda Bellamy was her romantic rival and that she wanted Jones to stay away from her.

Under direct examination from the prosecution, Martin testified that Jones came to her house early in the morning after the slayings and allegedly told her that he had killed Bellamy and the four children. Jones first told Martin that he killed Bellamy because he had grown tired of her coming to his house and insulting his mother.

He also allegedly claimed that the victim told him that if he left her, she would tell Nathan Burns, Sr. (the father of her two sons) that Jones had beaten the children. Jones "snapped" and then killed Bellamy in a rage.

Martin described Jones as having blood smeared on the right side of his neck when he showed up at her house. She then let him take a shower and helped him dispose of his bloody sneakers and clothes. But during cross-examination by the defense, Martin admitted that she had a romantic interest in Jones long before the slayings.

During Jones's six-month imprisonment for a separate assault between January and June 1997, Martin wrote Jones frequently and apparently told him that she wanted to pursue a relationship with him.

She also wanted Jones to end his relationship with Bellamy. Martin even admitted that she hated Yolanda Bellamy and was jealous of her. In addition, Martin also said that she and Jones had argued earlier that evening and conceded that he could have visited her that morning to reconcile.

Jurors also heard major testimony from Ericka Bellamy, the sister of the victim. Ericka's son and daughter were also killed in the slayings. She described the relationship between her late sister and Jones as "rocky" and said that both had threatened each other with physical violence. Ericka was also aware that her sister had slashed Jones's tires about a month before the murders.

In addition, this witness stoically described how she discovered the bodies the morning after the murder but fought back tears as her frantic call to police was played for jurors in court.

During cross-examination, Ericka Bellamy admitted that she was aware that there was a romantic rivalry between her sister and Maliaka Martin over Jones.

However, despite the fact that she was close to Yolanda Bellamy, this witness said she was not aware that her sister had written Jones so many love letters while he was in prison.


March 23, 1998 -- Day three of the murder trial of Reco Jones saw the defense for the first time in front of the jury accuse one of the defendant's former girlfriends of being the
person responsible for the deaths of Yolanda Bellamy, her two young sons and her young niece and nephew.

Defense attorney John McWilliams resumed his cross-examination of Martin and suggested that Yolanda was more attractive to Jones because she already had children and Martin did not. He went further, asking her if she believed Reco would go to prison if he was caught, and thus become a "captive audience'' for her.

Martin intended to show the jury Martin would be happier with Jones in prison and not free to chase other women.

When he asked Martin if she had heard that Yolanda and Jones were planning to wed, she replied that she had not.

Finally, McWilliams stated that Jones had come to Martin's home about 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 13 to confront her over what she had done at Yolanda's. Martin said that that was not true, denying all responsibility for the murders.

Later in the morning, Jones's friend, Tamika Terrell, took the stand to say Jones and Martin showed up at her house hours after the murder about 7:30 a.m. and asked her to both help them get rid of some of Jones's clothes and bloody gym shoes and return to Bellamy's house to make sure the front door handle was wiped clean of his fingerprints.

But Terrell did not have a washing machine. Jones then asked her to get rid of the clothes, which were in a plastic bag. Terrell said she questioned Jones further about why he needed disposal of the clothes.

Martin, Terrell said, told her Jones "took care of Yolanda.'' Jones went further and said he eliminated Yolanda and "cut the f--- out of her.''

Terrell said she did not believe him. She said she saw a paper bag in the trunk of Jones's mother's car that he was driving that morning. Jones, she said, told her the bag contained the knife he used and that he was going to throw it in a river or lake. Terrell said she then burned his clothes and blood splattered gym shoes in a metal garbage can her family used for burning trash.

There is a question over what clothes Jones was wearing after the murders. Martin testified previously that Jones showed up at her house wearing denim shorts and a T-shirt. Terrell said the clothes she burned included a hooded sweat jacket and sweat pants and apparently the same gym shoes described by Martin. McWilliams was using a photo of Martin wearing a hooded sweatshirt quite a bit during testimony.

Prosecutor Kevin Simowski suggested in questioning that Jones switched clothes and put them into the bag for disposal when he went to the trunk of his car.

Terrell said she then accompanied Martin and Jones back to Bellamy's house, and that she got out of the car and wiped the handle of the front screen door to ensure there were no fingerprints. This, she said, took about 30 seconds. Terrell did not tell police what she
knew for four days, and only after Martin gave police her name.

During cross-examination, McWilliams carefully asked Terrell if she had misheard what Jones said about killing Yolanda. Was it possible, McWilliams asked, that Jones said "Kia'' (Maliaka Martin's nickname, pronounced like "pie") cut the f--- out of Yolanda?

Terrell conceded that that was possible. She acknowledged that "I'' and "Kia'' sound alike. On redirect, however, prosecutor Simowski got Terrell to agree that there was no misunderstanding.

Jurors also heard testimony from Janet Jones, the mother of Reco Jones. Her testimony showed that she could not account for Reco between the hours of 4 a.m. and 8 a.m., when she was asleep. She said she woke up at 8 a.m. to find her Chrysler LeBaron gone. Mrs. Jones said it was not unusual for Reco to use her car.

She testified that Yolanda came to her house about 11 p.m. the previous night and was upset. Because of Yolanda's demeanor, this witness would not allow her to confront Reco, who was inside the house. She told Reco to stay in the basement.

Finally, Jones said, she called 911 to complain that Yolanda would not leave. Yolanda ultimately left on her own.

Jones also said Maliaka Martin lived in her household for a few years up until June of 1996. She said Martin acted "hostile'' toward children who interacted with Reco, and that Martin acted "jealous'' toward Reco's own siblings.

The prosecutor held up the knife believed to be similar to the murder weapon--a Ginsu knife. He asked her if that knife resembled one she had in her home at one time. She said that it did.

Jeffrey Jones, the defendant's uncle and one of the police investigators, was also called to the stand. He was working Aug. 13 with a special quick reaction unit aimed at grabbing suspects off the street quickly. He heard a call from another precinct that there was a subject named Reco wanted for five fatal assaults who drive a burgundy BMW.

This witness admitted to prosecutor Simowski that he knew the description of the suspect matched his nephew, and he headed toward his sister Janet's house.

Janet had just spoken with Reco when Jeffrey arrived at her house. She told him that Reco was headed to the restaurant for lunch with his barber. Jeffrey said he and his fellow officers then arrested Reco.

Interestingly, Simowski had impeached Jeffrey Jones about alleged statements his nephew made at the time of his arrest. The police officer said he told Reco that his girlfriend had been killed. Reco replied, ``Who?'' and according to Jeffrey, said a name that sounded unusual. But the officer said he could not remember the name.

Simowski seemed unconvinced, wondering aloud how Jeffrey Jones could not remember such a name while investigating a murder with five victims.

Jeffrey Jones also maintained that he knew that the five victims were stabbed to death before he assisted in the arrest of his nephew, a claim that would be disputed by another officer.

The final witness called for the day was another investigating officer, Sgt. Arlie Lovier. He said he arrived at the Bellamy home around noon. (The first officer at the scene broke down the front door around 11:10 a.m.) Lovier, who was given 30 days off in the wake of the grisly murder scene, said it was the worst crime scene he witnessed in 24 years with the Detroit Police Department. Lovier became visibly shaken recounting the murder scene and the autopsies that followed. He said he immediately called for doctors to examine the victims and that he did not know for sure the victims were stabbed to death until after two doctors examined the victims' bodies.

Lovier said the presence of so much blood prevented an immediate determination of what caused the wounds. In contradiction to Jeffrey Jones's previous testimony, Lovier said that only the senior department commanders were informed of the cause of death that day, and that they were not told until after 2 p.m. No other officers should have known the victims were stabbed.


March 24, 1998 -- Perhaps the most damaging testimony yet against Reco Jones came from a DNA and blood expert who found that the DNA of blood found at the sink of victim Yolanda Bellamy matched those of the five murder victims and Jones.

Cathy Carr, who examines bodily fluids collected from crime scenes, said the one drop of blood that proved consistent with the DNA of the five victims and Reco Jones was found at the edge of the kitchen sink. Carr said it was not noticed at first by investigators because the countertop there was wet when police first arrived.

But over the course of the day, as investigators sifted through the house for clues, the water dried, leaving a crusty residue of blood. The state says the mix of blood was caused when Jones washed his bloody hands in the sink. Prosecutor Kevin Simowski maintains that Jones carefully washed and dried his hands, but one undetected drop fell to the countertop.

Carr also testified about how she matched up blood splatters in the living room of Yolanda Bellamy's house with the victims. Her conclusion was that Bellamy must have struggled because her blood DNA was found all over one side of the living room. Her niece, Shafontah, and nephew, Delvontay, probably died where they were lying on their sleeping bag. Bellamy's youngest son, Nathan III, probably died near his mother's arms.

This witness's most chilling theory, however, was her conclusion regarding five-year-old Nathan Burns Jr., Bellamy's oldest son.

His blood DNA was found on the lower steps of the stairway leading to the second floor and in other parts of the living room by the front door. It could be concluded he was running, hurt, trying to get away from his attacker before he was killed.

On cross, the defense seemed to focus on what was not found in Carr's analysis. According to Carr, no matching blood matter was found on any knife taken from Jones's home. And no DNA matter was discovered in any of the sink drain traps in the victims' house.

In addition to Carr's testimony, Detroit police officer and state shoe print expert Steven Gawlik testified that two of the three bloody footprints found at the scene were made by Nike gym shoes. This is important because prior witnesses Maliaka Martin and Tamika Terrell, who said they helped Jones cover up the crime, said he had his bloody Nike gym shoes with him on the morning of the murders.

However, none of the defendant's three other pairs of Nikes matched the footprints. (There has already been testimony that Jones had another pair of Nikes destroyed after the murders.)

The day's proceedings began with a defense motion to prevent the state from showing the shocking crime scene photos to the jury. Defense attorney John McWilliams' main complaint was that the photos are in color and show a lot of blood, making them prejudicial to the defense.

However, prosecutor Simowski claimed the photos were necessary because they supported the testimony of the state medical examiner and rebutted the defense argument that the 5-foot, 2-inch Martin, not Jones, overpowered and killed the 5-foot, 4-inch Yolanda Bellamy.

Furthermore, Simowski said, there were more than 30 state crime scene photos, but the two he chose to show the jury were the least inflammatory. After reviewing all the photos, Judge Kym Worthy ruled in favor of the state.


March 25, 1998 -- Prosecutors called their last witnesses to the stand, providing more damaging testimony against Reco Jones as two police officers told the jury that Jones confessed to the murders of Yolanda Bellamy and her two children and niece and nephew after his arrest.

Officer Monica Childs, the first investigator to interview Jones when he was brought to the Detroit Police Department's downtown headquarters the afternoon of Aug. 13, 1997, said Jones waived his right to remain silent and proceeded to engage in a lengthy conversation with her that culminated with the defendant allegedly saying, "You knew all day it was me. You knew I went to Yolanda's house. You knew I did it.''

Childs said she first asked Jones when was the last time he saw Yolanda. Jones said early in the morning and then proceeded to tell the officer he went to Yolanda's when it was still dark. According to Childs, Jones said he and Bellamy argued, and the victim made threats against his family and his mother. Jones started to choke her, long enough for her to stop resisting. The defendant said he then left the house. Jones allegedly told Childs he saw Nathan Jr. and Nathan III in the living room but did not know if they were hurt at the time. Later that morning, according to Childs's account, Jones headed for work when he changed course and wound up at Maliaka Martin's house.

At one point in the interview, Childs said, Jones began crying. He told her he wanted to tell her what happened to the kids, but he also said he wanted to talk with his mother first before telling Childs the rest of the story.

Childs, however, said she was unsuccessful in reaching Jones's mother. Childs said that later Jones asked her if she believed a person can do something very bad while in a frenzy but cannot stop himself.

When Childs replied, "No," this apparently sparked Jones's "you know I did it" outburst. Jones's defense focused its efforts on Childs, questioning why she did not somehow tape or otherwise record her interview with him. Childs answered that that was against department policy, and state law does not require police to record interviews. And defense attorney John McWilliams made an effort to point out to the jury that at no time in the hours upon hours of police interviews did Jones admit to stabbing the five victims to death.

Sgt. Reginald Harvel interrogated Jones after Officer Childs. He testified that the defendant was upset and crying after his arrest, saying that he had cared for the victim. Jones allegedly described to the officer how Bellamy had told him that she was pregnant with his child but was going to refuse to carry out the pregnancy.

Because of this, Jones allegedly confessed to Harvel, he "snapped" and killed Bellamy. Jones then told Harvel that he needed to be alone. The officer left the room briefly, but when he returned, he saw Jones climbing out the window. Harvel tearfully recalled Jones telling him to get away from him, saying that jumping was "something he just had to do." Jones jumped as Harvel reached for him and fell several stories onto the concrete below. The defendant survived the suicide attempt but suffered a broken elbow and various internal injuries.

In addition to police testimony, blood expert Cathy Carr returned to the stand to finish her cross-examination by the defense. Carr admitted that she was not aware that police reports did not note any cuts on Jones. (Officer Childs and another police officer, Steven Yakimovich, would later testify that Jones did have a cut on his right hand. But neither of them noted the cut in a police report or took pictures of the cut itself.)

She also said that no blood was found in his fingernail scrapings or on the alleged murder weapon. (But there was prior testimony that Jones had washed his hands and the knife after the slayings). Carr did not conduct a similar test of Maliaka Martin, who had helped Jones attempt to cover up his alleged role in the murders.

The state is expected to wrap its case by calling Rauol Williams, an inmate who roomed with Jones. He is expected to testify that Jones confessed the murders to him. Williams is also expected to say that Jones admitted to jumping out the police headquarters window but planned to sue by claiming officers pushed him. Finally, Williams will testify that Jones asked him if he would kill Maliaka Martin.


March 26, 1998 -- A combative, unremorseful Reco Jones took the stand and tried to place the blame for the murders of Yolanda Bellamy and four children squarely on one of his ex-girlfriends, Maliaka Martin. But when confronted by prosecutor Kevin Simowski during cross-examination, Jones admitted that he was following a "script" during his prior testimony and undermined his story about Martin.

Jurors heard an entirely different version of the slayings from Jones. He testified that he had visited Martin in the middle of the night and had fallen asleep at her house. According to Jones, he and Martin were together for a brief time the previous night, and they had argued about Jones's having female friends and continuing to talk to Bellamy. Jones said that he visited Martin to settle the argument with her and claimed that he also had CDs belonging to Bellamy that he wanted to return. Jones then decided to drive to Bellamy's house to return her belongings, and Martin accompanied him.

According to the witness, he also wanted to settle the hard feelings between Bellamy and Martin over the love rivalry they had involving him.

Jones told the jury that when he and Martin arrived at Bellamy's house, Martin attacked Bellamy. He said that he tried to break up the fight between them, but Bellamy had already been stabbed. "What did you do that for?," Jones claimed he asked Martin. (Jones also claimed that his arm was cut accidentally by the murder knife while he tried to separate the two women.)

Martin, Jones claimed, went on to kill the four children, but he never explained why he never stopped her. The defendant then claimed that he and Martin returned to her home, both showered to wash the blood off their bodies, and then ultimately returned to the murder scene to help cover up the crime.

Jones acknowledged that he went to his friend Tamika Terrell's house and that she helped them burn some of his bloody clothes.

Jones's direct examination was labored and difficult for his own attorney, John McWilliams. Both on and off the stand, Jones argued with McWilliams over his answers to the questions and wanted to give detailed answers when McWilliams tried to persuade him to follow his instructions.

Judge Kym Worthy had to excuse the jury multiple times to remind Jones that he must only answer the questions asked by his attorney and that McWilliams was trying to help him.

The defendant denied confessing to the murders when interrogated by police and said that he jumped out of the window at police headquarters because he was scared and knew Martin and the police were trying to pin the murders on him.

However, prosecutor Kevin Simowski took an immediate, aggressive approach during his
cross-examination of Jones, saying, "You like to tell stories and lie, don't you, Mr. Jones?" To that, Jones incredibly replied, "Yes."

Simowski continuously accused Jones of lying, saying that he was really the one that killed Bellamy and the children. Jones replied that he was following his "script," when he told the story about Maliaka Martin and the murders.

He said openly in court in front of the jurors that he was following his script. (This implied
that his prior testimony was a story Jones's attorneys had made up for him. His attorneys later said on record that they did not encourage him to make up a story. They only made up notes so that they could verify the facts of the case with Jones.)

The prosecutor asked Jones to confess, tell the court the truth about his role in the murders. An unrepentant Jones only kept referring to his script, denying that he killed the victims. When asked whether he knew the truth in this case, Jones said he did not.

Finally, prosecutor Simowski gave Jones the chance to confess to the murders in open court, but Jones refused to answer, and attempted to use his Fifth Amendment Rights, which he could not do under these circumstances. With that, Jones's cross-examination ended. His defense did not present re-direct questions. If convicted of murder, Jones faces life in prison without parole.


March 27, 1998 -- One day after defendant Reco Jones's controversial testimony, both the prosecution and the defense presented closing arguments, with prosecutor Kevin Simowski portraying Jones as a cold-blooded killer who ate lunch as the bodies of his ex-girlfriend Yolanda Bellamy and four children were discovered by police.

Simowski told jurors that he would not focus on what he characterized as Jones's "despicable display" on the stand. Rather, Simowski said, the "overwhelming" evidence against Jones proves that he was angry at Bellamy and killed her their sons, niece and nephew in a rage. The prosecutor outlined the sequence of the slayings for the jurors for the first time in his closing statements.

Simowski said that when Bellamy insulted Jones, the defendant stabbed Shafontah and Delvontay Bellamy, who were asleep in their sleeping bags and did not stand a chance against the attack.

"As her [Yolanda's] life's blood was escaping, Mr. Jones stabbed Shafontah," Simowski said. "It was as if he was saying, 'Look what I'm doing to your family' as he tortured the little girl."

At that moment, said Simowski, Bellamy yelled a long "No!" and tried to gather her sons, Nathan Jr. and Nathan III, and escape. But Jones, said the prosecutor, killed Bellamy and young Nathan III while he was still in her arms.

"Mr. Jones told you that no one can speak for Yolanda Bellamy," Simowsky said. "But she spoke to you through the evidence, through the DNA evidence."

The prosecutor characterized Jones as a person who has manipulated women all his life, hiding behind girlfriends and even his mother. Simowski noted how after his arrest, Jones tried to hide the cut he suffered on his right hand when he attacked Bellamy and the children. As he showed photos taken of Jones after his arrest, the prosecutor said, "You know what our hider does? The guy who hides behind the women? Now he's hiding his right palm."

Simowski also noted for jurors how angry Jones appeared to be at police officer Monica Childs, who testified that Jones had admitted committing the murders to her. Simowski claimed that Jones was angry at Childs because she was one of the few females in his life who had betrayed him.

Jones, the prosecutor also noted, went to get a haircut after the crimes to remove more possible evidence and as Yolanda Bellamy's sister, Ericka, found her children and sister in a blood of blood, Jones was having lunch. "How cold can you be?" Simowski asked the jurors.

Defense attorney Kendall Sailler responded to the prosecution's closing arguments by saying that if there is a reasonable doubt that Jones did not kill the five victims and that they were murdered by someone else (such as his ex-girlfriend Maliaka Martin), then they must find him not guilty. Sailler characterized the murders as the most heinous in Detroit's history, but also noted that the prosecution's case was based largely on circumstantial evidence. No one, said Sailler, saw Jones commit the crimes, and no one testified that they saw him murder the victims.

Sailler said that police and prosecutors, anxious to find a suspect, rushed to arrest his client and did not investigate other possible suspects. "There was a rush to judgment in this case," Sailler said. "They had four dead kids, and they had to do something."

The defense attorney also said that the state's strongest evidence, the DNA evidence, was based on what he called a "water spot" and that the jury cannot convict Jones on evidence taken from a water spot.

In addition, Sailer also attempted to explain Jones's behavior on the stand by emphasizing that Jones is a scared "street kid" who did not react well to the pressures of being on the stand and on Court TV.

"He's scared to death... I hope you can understand he's a very scared young man," Sailler said. "Perhaps it was a mistake thinking that he could handle the pressures of testifying on the stand. Please understand that my client is a street kid...he's not a rocket scientist. He was doing his best and it was not real good."

During rebuttal closings, prosecutor Simowski chastised the defense for not knowing the exact names of the police officers they named in their closing arguments and accused them of making up and changing their story about the murders during the course of the trial.

"[They said] 'I'm not going to say a name in opening statements because we're going to make it up as we go along,"' Simowski said of Jones's defense team.

"They found a scapegoat, but they waited until the end of the trial because they weren't sure who to pin it on...They're playing over here." Simowski also commented on the defense's allegations that Jones is scared. "He [Jones] wasn't so scared that he couldn't go to Fishbones and have lunch," the prosecutor said. "He's scared because the truth is coming right at him. Here comes the truth, Mr. Jones."

Afterwards, Judge Kym Worthy instructed the jury to consider both first and second-degree murder charges against Jones. If convicted of first-degree murder, Jones could face life in prison.



March 30, 1998 -- After two hours of deliberations that began on late Friday, Reco Jones was convicted of five counts of first-degree murder in the brutal slayings of his ex-girlfriend Yolanda Bellamy, her two sons, and her niece and nephew. Jones' conviction did not come as a surprise, especially after his bizarre behavior during his testimony last Thursday where he openly argued with his attorneys and alluded to "script" he followed when he gave his account of the murders.

Prosecutors claimed that Jones, 23, killed Bellamy in a rage after she told him that she was pregnant and refused to have his baby because he was not a "real man." Jones then
killed Bellamy's sons, Nathan Burns, Jr. and Nathan, III, and Bellamy's niece and nephew, Shafontah and Delvontay, when they walked in on the altercation between him and Bellamy. The young victims were no older than five years old.

Jones's defense said that police arrested the wrong person and claimed that Maliaka Martin, one of Jones's ex-girlfriends and a sexual rival of Bellamy, killed the five victims.

Reco Jones was unemotional as the sentence was read. Although there was high tension between relatives of Jones and Bellamy during the trial, the court remained silent once the verdict was announced. Jones could face life in prison when Judge Kym Worthy sentences him on April 17.



April 22, 1998 -- The grandmother who has no more grandchildren. The childless mother. The hardened prosecutor who doesn't usually cry. They all had their final say Tuesday to Reco Jones, the man convicted of one of Detroit's most heinous crimes.

They all addressed Jones before Wayne County Circuit Judge Kym Worthy sentenced Jones to five life terms in prison for slashing and torturing his ex-girlfriend and four children to death last summer.



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