Sentenced to Life Without Mom: A Shocking True Crime Story
Kenneth Jones apologized to the family of Stephanie Eldredge on November 5 as he pled guilty to killing the woman thirteen years ago.
“I’d like to say that ‘I’m sorry’ is a very inadequate word to apologize for what happened that day, but I want the victims to know that I’m very sorry,” Jones said
Well, Jones was correct there, wasn’t he? An apology doesn’t come close to making up for what he put Stephanie’s family through. Stephanie and two of her kids are pictured above.
How did it happen? Jones said he and the 21-year-old mother of three got into a fight. He shoved her. Stephanie fell back and cracked her head on the ground. Jones said he panicked “to my great shame,” and hid the body.
Stephanie lived with her boyfriend, her boyfriend’s mother, and Kenneth Jones at the time. Jones is her boyfriend’s stepbrother.
Stephanie failed to return home on August 20, 2007. Her boyfriend and his mother discovered she’d left behind her purse, cell phone, keys, shoes, and even her baby daughter. They knew something was wrong.
A couple of years later, Jones, who was in jail on an unrelated charge, told a cellmate that he’d killed Stephanie. But police were not able to take that jailhouse confession to trial.
One year later, investigators found Stephanie’s badly decomposed body in a shallow grave in the foothills just east of Idaho Falls.
Still, they didn’t have enough to take Jones to trial. But in 2014, Idaho Falls detective Jessica Marley got the case and wouldn’t let go.
She went to the “Cold Justice” TV true-crime series for help. The Idaho Falls P.D. needed funding to test old evidence in the case with new technology.
That infusion of cash, along with the exposure granted by “Cold Justice,” brought forth enough evidence to file a second-degree murder charge last year against Jones.
To avoid trial on a charge of second-degree murder, Jones pled to charges of involuntary manslaughter and concealment, and alteration or destruction of evidence, the East Idaho News reported. He also pled guilty to misdemeanor resisting and obstruction.
If there’s a downside to this story, here it is. The plea deal means Jones avoids the possibility of a life sentence that could have been attached to a second-degree murder conviction.
Instead, the most he’ll do is 15 years in prison for the felony voluntary manslaughter charge, another five for concealment of evidence, and one more year for the misdemeanor charges.
At the same time, Stephanie’s children will be serving a sentence of life without mom.