On Friday February 7, 21-year-old Shaquille Jones pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting death of University of Michigan medical student Paul DeWolf, who died in July of 2013. Jones, who is from South Carolina, will spend a minimum of 18 years and nine months for his role in the shooting death, according to news reports at Mlive.com.
Thom DeWolf, the deceased medical student’s father, said that hearing a firsthand account of how his son was killed was more difficult than he expected it to be.
Jones and another man, Joei Jordan also of South Carolina, were each charged with open murder and three counts of home invasion. Paul DeWolf was shot to death in his room at the fraternity house after Jones and Jordan broke into the room, stealing only a PlayStation 3. Authorities suspect the two men broke into the room because of a rolled up towel they mistook as indication someone was smoking marijuana in the room. DeWolf had placed the towel at the bottom of a door to keep air conditioned air inside the room.
On the evening of DeWolf’s death, Jones and Jordan allegedly broke into two homes; the co-defendants claim that it was actually Jordan’s cousin who accidentally shot and killed the medical student. Dajeon Franklin of Pittsfield Township allegedly meant to strike DeWolf with the gun when the victim grabbed at something and the gun went off unexpectedly, the bullet striking the victim near his clavicle before exiting his back.
The maximum prison term for Jones will be up to the court according to Judge Archie Brown.
Individuals convicted of second-degree murder may be sentenced to any number of years to life in prison. Because Jones pleaded guilty and agreed to testify in future court proceedings, he may spend less time in prison than a defendant found guilty by a jury at trial.
Murder is the most serious criminal offense anyone can be charged with. In cases of open murder, it is up to the jury to determine whether an individual will be charged with first- or second-degree murder. Regardless, the criminal penalties are extremely serious and mean life-changing consequences for those convicted. If you have been accused of a homicide offense, do not hesitate before contacting an experienced and aggressive Michigan criminal defense attorney.