A Northeast Washington man was sentenced yesterday to three life terms and 180 years, to be served consecutively, for his part in the 1975 execution style murder in Prince George's County of three Washington men.
According to judges on the Prince George's Circuit Court and State's Attorney Arthur A. Marshall Jr., the sentence is the stiffest handed down in the county in recent memory.
Circuit Court Judge Jacob S. Levin sentenced Willie Lee Jones, 25, to life imprisonment for each of three counts of first-degree murder, Jones, of 5753 Ames St. NE., also was sentenced to 120 years for four counts of kidnaping and 60 years for four counts of use of a handgun in relation to the murders.
Convicted by a jury last January, Jones was one of five persons charged in connection with the October, 1975, fatal shootings of David Alan Dock, 21, of 5019 B St. SE; Alvin Jones, 22 of 132 57th Pl. SE; and William Anthony Cunningham, 21, of 5739 East Capitol St. The other four persons charged with the murders have not yet come to trial.
According to evidence presented in Jones' trial, Jones and four others committed the murders in revenge for the theft of $400 worth of cocaine from Jone's younger sister. The prosecution said that Jones and the others lured the men to a Seat Pleasant apartment complex on Oct. 24, 1975 and threatened them with handguns, forcing them to drive to a wooded area near the 6600 block of Deputy Lane in Prince George's, where they were shot.
Benjamin R. Wolman, Jones' attorney, called the sentence "ludicrous," and said the case would be appealed.
"I seriously question whether a sentence such as this is a deterrent to crime," Wolman said.
A spokesman for the Maryland Parole Commission said that under state law, anyone sentenced to life imprisonment is eligible for parole after serving 15 years. As a rule, the spokesman said, consecutive life sentences are treated as one sentence.