Curtis and Catherine Jones were two American siblings who were sexually abused by a family member before planning a way to escape through murder. They were 12 and 13 respectively. The duo lived with their father and his girlfriend in their Florida home. Another male relative who was a convicted sex offender also lived with them; he even shared a bed with Curtis.
Catherine and his brother complained several times to their father about the abuse they were suffering at the hands of his male relative, but he and his girlfriend thought they were making things up. They decided to kill everyone in the family out of anger. On that fateful day in 1999, they shot their father’s girlfriend, killing her with four bullets.
Complete Story of Curtis and Catherine Jones
In their Melbourne, Florida, home on January 6, 1999, Sonya Speights was shot by thirteen-year-old Catherine Jones and her twelve-year-old brother. When they realised what they had done, they supposedly tried to relocate the body and clean up the scene but instead ran to a friend’s house and claimed to have accidently shot the woman. The two kids fled and hid in the woods when their friends’ parents said they were contacting the police. The following morning, they would be discovered.
In spite of the public defenders’ best efforts, the state decided—and the judge concurred—that the two would be tried in adult court as adults. It appears that no one inquired about the two kids’ life. They were going to be accused of first-degree murder by the state. Curtis would be the nation’s youngest individual to ever experience this. They could have served up to three years in prison if they had been charged as juveniles, but the prosecution apparently did not think that was long enough.
Naturally, the media went bonkers. It was widely reported that these two kids had killed their father’s girlfriend because they were envious of their father’s love with her and thought he would marry her. It initially appears to be a really cold-blooded murder.
The youngsters were permitted to enter a plea of guilty to second-degree murder through their attorneys in order to get a sentence that would see them serve eighteen years in prison and then spend the rest of their lives on probation. Once more, it appears that no one advocated for these kids or even bothered to inquire about their home situation. The most tragic aspect of it is that there were records that were simple to find, much alone witnesses. I saw an article in which one of the children’s attorneys was interviewed, and she dismissed all the facts that had been learned years later, claiming that they could only rely on what their client had told them. This was the best co-out I had ever seen, in my opinion.
Not until Catherine conducted an interview ten years later did anyone appear to be interested in what had happened or why. There were many people who did not accept the account Catherine gave in 2009, therefore it seems that there was an effort to support or refute it. What was discovered was astounding and revealed that these kids had experienced abuse from not only a family member but also, it seemed, from the system and everyone they knew. They were also treated like trash and sent to prison rather than receiving assistance. It should be mentioned that in 2015, upon their release, the case’s prosecutor declared he did not accept the abuse allegations. If the only evidence was Catherine’s word, or even simply the word of those who supported the kids, I could be willing to give the prosecutor a break on their assertion. However, the majority of her account is supported by papers from the Department of Family Services, the police, and others.
One of my first inquiries after knowing a little about their history was, “Where was their mother?” It appears that when the kids were four and five years old, Catherine and Curtis’ mother had departed. She would assert that she had been abused by their father, Curtis Sr., and that he had threatened to kidnap her kids. She would also remark that even though she fled Curtis Sr. and returned to her parents’ home in Kansas after leaving Florida, she was unable to take her children with her. Due to the fact that she was white and Curtis Sr. was black, her parents had always been against her relationship with him. Although there were many other apparent reasons for their hatred of Curtis Sr., it seems that this was the main one, and they did not embrace their bi-racial grandkids. After reportedly moving out on her own in Kansas and returning to Florida in 1993, the kids’ mother removed them from school. She was taken into custody by Curtis Sr., who then charged her with a third-degree felony for interfering with custody. The accusations against the mother were dropped, and the kids were given back to their father.
It appears that Curtis Sr. was charged with second-degree murder for murdering two men in a pool club a few months after their mother departed in 1989. The kids were transported to live in Alabama with Curtis Srmother. .’s The charges were deemed to be acts of self-defense, and they were downgraded to misdemeanours. It doesn’t seem like he was imprisoned for a very long time because the kids were given back to him.
A family member was accused of abusing his girlfriend’s daughter in 1993 and served some jail time, though it appears that no one ever exactly names this individual. After being freed, he moved in with Curtis Sr. and the kids. They would also be housing Sonya. Sonya has two girls from a previous relationship, although it appears that they only spent a short time with the family in 1998. Their granny brought them up. They were 8 and 9 years old when their mother was killed in 1999.
It appears that Curtis and Catherine visited their mother in Kansas before DFC first got in touch with them. When Curtis was around eight years old, he reported to his mother that a family member who shared a room with him had touched him in an inappropriate manner. When DFC visited the family in Florida after his return, the eight-year-old was suddenly telling a different tale. Although the case was resolved, it appears that the social worker had suspicions about mistreatment. DFC was contacted once more after Curtis attended school while sporting a black eye. Once more, there was suspicion of abuse and it was noted, but nothing was done about it.
Then, four months before Sonya was slain in September 1998, Catherine escaped her house. DFC was contacted once more. Even Catherine’s teacher had spoken to them, claiming that she thought Catherine was being abused at home. According to this assessment, which is the most thorough, there were “some indicators of physical and sexual assault,” although Catherine disputed the allegations. Although it was noted that the family had been informed that the relative who had been convicted in 1993 and was residing in the house should not be there, the case was once more closed. This didn’t seem to be an order from anyone, just a suggestion. Later, Catherine would claim that she was compelled to tell DFC lies during their visits and deny that the family member had ever harmed the kids.
For a few months after that, everything appeared to become worse. Catherine claimed that at that time, she was prepared to go to any lengths in order to leave the house and stop the torture. She was also upset with the grownups in her life because none of them appeared to think that the family member had molested her. She devised a scheme in which she would steal her father’s gun and, using it, would murder her father, the relative, and Sonya. She asserts that after talking to Curtis about it, he agreed to support her. Looking back, Catherine has acknowledged that the plan, particularly starting with Sonya, was absurd and that, had she insisted on carrying it out, she ought to have done so only with the abusive member of the family. She continued by saying that she, Curtis, and Sonja were seated at the table on January 6, 1999, and they were aware that the family member would be coming home later that evening. Under the table, Curtis was holding his father’s revolver in his lap when he started shooting at Sonya. She can’t recall many specifics from the commotion, but she is aware that she also grabbed the gun and fired at Sonya. Nine shots were fired in total, and Sonya was struck by four of them.
Being an adult, Catherine is aware of how ridiculous it sounds when she claims that she was first simply happy being away from the house. It seems that the children had been coached, as many abused children are, to refrain from talking about the abuse. Evidently, this explains why the claims weren’t made public until ten years after the murder.
As I mentioned previously, I find it shocking that these kids were turned away from every opportunity. Now, murder is murder, and that is what they did, but first off, if the authorities, including the police and DFC, had done their duties correctly (police having visited the home with social workers on at least one, if not more occasions), it would not have come to that. Second, the public lawyers appointed to them after their arrest should have done more research and provided that information to the courts. All of this didn’t occur. Instead, two 12- and 13-year-olds were permitted to enter a guilty plea to a crime that they did, in fact, commit, but without a fair trial.
There does appear to be someone working within the system on their behalf right now to try to get them some type of pardon. In my opinion, “lifetime probation” does not seem to be legal or appropriate, so I hope they are successful in some way.