Mur­der trial post­poned

Man ac­cused of killing preg­nant woman in her Chel­tenham apartment now faces Fe­bru­ary trial

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - FRONT PAGE - By Carl Hessler Jr. [email protected]­tu­ry­ @mont­co­court­news on Twit­ter

The De­cem­ber trial for a Philadel­phia man ac­cused of fa­tally stab­bing the mother of his un­born child in her Chel­tenham apartment has been post­poned while lawyers bat­tle over pre­trial is­sues in the case.

The trial for Tris­tian Jones, orig­i­nally slated to be­gin Dec. 3, will now be­gin on Feb. 19, 2019, which is the one year an­niver­sary of the al­leged mur­der, ac­cord­ing to an or­der filed by Mont­gomery County Judge Wendy G. Roth­stein. The trial is ex­pected to last about a week.

Mean­while, the judge has set aside Dec. 3 for a pre­trial hear­ing in the case.

At that time, the judge is ex­pected to con­sider a re­quest by pros­e­cu­tors who want the jury to hear the 911 call made by the vic­tim’s 12-year-old daugh­ter who re­treated to a bath­room of the res­i­dence af­ter al­legedly ob­serv­ing Jones stab­bing her mother.

Pros­e­cu­tors Alexan­dria MacMaster and Kris­ten J. Kemp ar­gued the 911 au­dio record­ing is ad­mis­si­ble as a “present-sense im­pres­sion” and an “ex­cited ut­ter­ance” un­der the law and should be heard by the jury.

Jones, 35, of the 900 block of East John­son Street, faces mur­der charges in con­nec­tion with the Feb. 19, 2018, fa­tal stab­bing of Eboney N. White, 31, and her un­born child in her apartment in the 2000 block of Mather Way in the Elkins Park sec­tion of Chel­tenham.

“See­ing her mother be­ing stabbed to death and cov­ered in blood right af­ter she heard her mother scream­ing was clearly a star­tling event for (the child). The 911 call con­tains state­ments she made while un­der the stress of ex­cite­ment caused by the ho-

mi­cide,” MacMaster and Kemp wrote in pre­trial court pa­pers.

“Her state­ments were spon­ta­neous and sub­ject to an over­pow­er­ing emo­tion caused by the shock of see­ing the bloody crime scene and her mother Eboney White be­ing stabbed to death,” the pros­e­cu­tors ar­gued.

Jones, who is rep­re­sented by de­fense lawyer Car­rie L. All­man, faces charges of first- and third­de­gree mur­der, first- and third-de­gree mur­der of an un­born child, pos­ses­sion of an in­stru­ment of crime and unsworn fal­si­fi­ca­tion to au­thor­i­ties.

If he’s con­victed of first­de­gree mur­der, which is an in­ten­tional killing, Jones faces life im­pris­on­ment. A con­vic­tion of third-de­gree mur­der, a killing com­mit­ted with mal­ice, car­ries a pos­si­ble max­i­mum sen­tence of 20 to 40 years in prison.

White was 7½ months preg­nant at the time of her death. The fe­tus did not sur­vive the at­tack.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­gan when Chel­tenham po­lice re­sponded to White’s apartment at 3:20 a.m. Feb. 19 af­ter re­ceiv­ing a 911 call from her 12-year-old daugh­ter, ac­cord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint filed by county De­tec­tive Todd Richard and Chel­tenham De­tec­tive Ron­ald Cupo.

Po­lice found White dead in the mas­ter bed­room with mul­ti­ple stab wounds

to her torso. White’s 12and 7-year-old daugh­ters were un­harmed.

White’s daugh­ter who made the 911 call told au­thor­i­ties she had seen her mother’s boyfriend, “Mr. Tris­tian,” in the door­way of her mother’s bed­room at ap­prox­i­mately 2 a.m., ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit of prob­a­ble cause. The girl re­ported she went to bed but was awak­ened by the sound of scream­ing ap­prox­i­mately 45 min­utes later. The girl told de­tec­tives she went to her mother’s bed­room and saw a man, wear­ing a grey sweat­shirt, hood and a black mask, stab­bing her mother with a knife.

“(The girl) stated she screamed at the male to stop hurt­ing her mother and the male lunged at her with the knife in his hand,” de­tec­tives wrote in the ar­rest af­fi­davit, adding the girl re­treated to a bath­room and placed the 911 call.

An au­topsy de­ter­mined White died of mul­ti­ple stab wounds, while the un­born male child died due to ma­ter­nal stab wounds, ac­cord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint.

When he was in­ter­viewed by de­tec­tives on Feb. 19, Jones stated that while he is mar­ried, he and White had been dat­ing since spring 2017 and she was car­ry­ing his child, who was due in early April 2018, ac­cord­ing to the ar­rest af­fi­davit. Jones al­legedly said the two had dis­cussed in­tro­duc­ing their chil­dren to each other on the day of White’s death and that she had been “mad” he was not

end­ing his mar­riage.

De­tec­tives al­leged Jones gave in­con­sis­tent de­scrip­tions of the cloth­ing he had been wear­ing Feb. 18 and 19 and about his where­abouts around the time of the killing.

Jones’s wife told au­thor­i­ties she had not seen him be­tween 4:30 p.m. Feb. 18 and 5:30 a.m. Feb. 19 when he re­turned to the apartment af­ter what she be­lieved had been a shift at work, ac­cord­ing to the ar­rest af­fi­davit.

In the two days lead­ing up to White’s death, a string of text mes­sages re­vealed White and Jones dis­cussing their un­born child — whom they called Travis — and his im­pact on their fam­i­lies. They dis­cussed how to talk to their other chil­dren about their af­fair, with Jones writ­ing he “com­mit­ted a sin” and seem­ing to strug­gle with how he would teach his chil­dren “for­ni­ca­tion is a sin” when that is what he had com­mit­ted.

“I don’t want any of the kids in­clud­ing yours think­ing sex be­fore mar­riage is okay,” Jones al­legedly wrote in one text mes­sage.

White’s mother told po­lice she had been con­cerned about Jones’s at­ti­tude to­ward the preg­nancy, ac­cord­ing to the ar­rest af­fi­davit. She re­layed White had told her Jones had once given her a “white foamy” liq­uid and asked her to drink it and later gave her what she be­lieved was a soda can that had been tam­pered with, both of which she re­fused to drink.

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