Son, 24, Charged In Mother's Death

By Jay Mathews
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 14, 2006

A Fairfax City man was charged yesterday with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of his mother at their tree-shaded brick home in the Mosby Woods neighborhood, police said.

Nathan P. Jones, 24, was being held without bond at the Fairfax County jail in the killing of Pamela Ann Jones, 57, police said. It was the first homicide of the year in Fairfax City, which often has years with no slayings.

Police spokeswoman Lynn Coulter said Pamela Jones's husband, Dennis, found her body when he returned home about 8:30 p.m. Friday. She had suffered a stab wound to her upper body, Coulter said. She said that police were trying to determine what weapon was used and that the cause of death would be determined by an autopsy. She said police did not know of a motive.

Two detectives were at the house, which was surrounded by yellow crime scene tape, yesterday afternoon. They declined to comment and said no family members were at home.

Several neighbors said Pamela Jones was a popular and friendly person who had told them that her son, a former College of William and Mary student, was struggling with a mental illness that appeared to first affect him in college.

David Hazel, 19, who grew up next door to the Joneses and attends James Madison University with Nathan Jones's sister, Stephanie, said Nathan Jones was a good student, tall and athletic, and many years ago taught Hazel how to ride a bicycle. Hazel said he remembered Nathan Jones as a very happy person, but recently, he said, "you could tell he was different and kind of aloof."

Thomas Keo, 54, a limousine driver who lives across the street from the Joneses in the 3200 block of Sherman Street, said Pamela Jones warmly welcomed him to the neighborhood a year ago as a fellow immigrant, because she was from Australia and he from Cambodia. But he said her usual ebullience was missing in recent weeks, and he thought it was because of her son's condition.

"He would sit for long periods on the step in front of their house," Keo said. "He tried to avoid contact with people."

Another neighbor said Pamela Jones had visited in recent days to share her concerns about her son. The neighbors said they never felt threatened by Nathan Jones and did not know what might have triggered violence.

The news of the murder charge spread through the suburban neighborhood yesterday at the same time that a funeral was being held for Fairfax County Detective Vicky O. Armel, killed Monday by 18-year-old Michael W. Kennedy, who had sought mental health care and was killed by police after he fired at least 70 shots at officers in a county police parking lot.

Coulter said police responding to the Sherman Street slaying quickly learned that Nathan Jones had been at the house Friday. Police said they found him at a doughnut shop in the 9400 block of Fairfax Boulevard about 9 p.m., and after interviewing him charged him with murder about 1 a.m.

In front of the house yesterday were the nearly identical brown Nissan Pathfinders driven by Pamela Jones and her husband. In addition to their son and daughter, the Joneses have an adult son, Daniel.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company