MEMPHIS — A 51-year-old Florida man was convicted Saturday, May 16, for a second time in the 2003 slayings of an elderly Bartlett couple, Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich has announced.
A Criminal Court jury convicted Henry Lee Jones on two counts of first-degree murder and then sentenced him to death for killing Clarence James, 82, and his wife, Lillian James, 67.
The Jameses were found strangled and with their throats slashed on Aug. 22, 2003, in their home on Bartlett Boulevard. Bindings were used and then removed. Jones also stole cash and rings.
Jones once lived near Bartlett and was arrested three weeks later in his hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
In 2009, a jury convicted Jones of the two killings and sentenced him to death, but the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned the conviction and sentence last year.
The court ruled that the jury should not have been told of a second murder attributed to Jones in Florida in which the victim was strangled, his throat was slashed and bindings were used. Prosecutors called it “a signature crime” that proved Jones’ identity in the Bartlett case.
The murder occurred four days after the Bartlett killings and involved 19-year-old victim Carlos Perez, whose body was found in a motel in Melbourne, Fla. A Florida jury in 2013 convicted Jones of that killing and sentenced him to death.
Jones remains the prime suspect in a similar murder in 2002 involving 24-year-old Keith Gross of Fort Lauderdale. Jones has never been charged in that case.
In last week’s retrial, Jones represented himself until Friday, when he had his appointed attorney take over the defense. The case was prosecuted by Deputy Dist. Atty. Gen. Jennifer Nichols and administrative assistant Thomas Henderson. Judge W. Mark Ward presided.