Police in 2015 at the home in Upper Marlboro, Md., where Amanda Jones was found dead. (Dan Morse/The Washington Post)

One by one, tragedy consumed members of Myisha Golway’s family.

In 2009, her father died in a house fire. Two years later, her brother was slain in a police shooting. Then in 2015 her mother, Amanda Jones, was brutally stabbed to death in her home — and discovered by Golway, who found her in a basement with a slit neck and bloodied body.

“It had broke my heart,” Golway said, “but I knew instantly who had done it to her. . . . She was all I had left in my family.”

As the last one standing in a family that has endured one heartbreak after another, the 32-year-old Golway spoke Wednesday at the sentencing of Mitchell Cole, the man Golway immediately suspected of killing her mother.

Cole, 60, entered an Alford plea to manslaughter in the death of Jones, his ex-girlfriend. In the plea, which is tantamount to a conviction, Cole did not admit guilt but acknowledged that prosecutors had enough evidence to persuade a jury to convict him had the case gone to at trial.

A Prince George’s County Circuit Court judge accepted Cole’s plea and sentenced him to 10 years, capping a case that has haunted Jones’s extended family since her slaying almost four years ago.


Mitchell Cole (Prince George’s County police)

Jones had been chatting on the phone with a new boyfriend on Oct. 19, 2015, when the conversation cut out, prosecutors said. Jones’s boyfriend called 911. Police were dispatched to her house but did not find her and left the scene.

The new boyfriend called 911 again the following morning, and police again did not find Jones.

Her body would not be found until calls to Jones’s relatives came in from parents who were dropping off children at the day-care center Jones ran from her home and realized they could not get in.

Golway arrived, entered the house and came upon her mother’s body.


Amanda Jones, 56, in an undated photo, with her son, Charles O. Smith. (Family photo)

“I will never forgive you,” Golway said Wednesday in court to Cole, who was advised by his attorney not to speak at the hearing.

In the days after Jones’s killing, Prince George’s police said the reason they had not discovered her body sooner was that public safety communications did not relay to officers that the man who called 911 had reported sounds of a struggle inside the house. Based on information from dispatchers, officers looked for trouble outside the home but did not have enough reasonable suspicion to go inside the house, police said.

Shortly after Jones’s killing, police said Cole had broken into her house and killed her. Had the case gone to trial, prosecutors would have presented evidence that included cellphone data that put Cole at the scene and possibly paperwork that would have shown a prior protective order Jones had taken out against Cole, said Todd Stewart, an assistant state’s attorney for Prince George’s County, in court.

Cole’s attorney, Michael Lovelace, said his client had undergone shoulder replacement surgery 10 days before Jones’s killing. Cole would not have been able to move his arm in the manner that led to Jones’s fatal injuries, Lovelace said.

At the hearing, Jones’s family remembered her as a “stronghold” for the family and in the community, with hundreds attending her funeral.

Teairra Jones said her aunt was more like a mother, whisking her away when she was having trouble at home and giving her a car when she got her license.

“She always came to my rescue,” Teairra Jones said. “It was such a comfort.”

Linda Hall, Amanda Jones’s aunt, said their family has been forever harmed by the killing. Hall and others lamented that a sentence of 10 years was not enough to make up for what they lost.

“He should rot in jail,” Hall said, “but he will spend eternity in hell.”