Daughter, 10 months, taken off life support after traumatic injuries
By Phil Trexler
Beacon Journal staff writer
Published on Friday, Jul 23, 2010
John Jones (left) stares at Deja Ruiz during a hearing in Summit County Probate Court before Judge William Spicer in May. (Ed Suba Jr./Akron Beacon Journal)
Less than a week after a judge settled a dispute between parents and ordered life support removed from an Akron infant, police have charged a teenage father with murder.
John Jones, 17, already had been accused of assault for allegedly inflicting the injuries to his 10-month-old daughter, Jada, that led to her being placed on life support in March.
A months-long court battle between Jones and the baby's mother, Deja Ruiz, ended last Friday when a Summit County judge agreed with the mother's request to end life support.
Jada Ruiz Jones died later that evening at Akron Children's Hospital. Jones did not have an opportunity to appeal Probate Judge Bill Spicer's decision, according to his family.
On Thursday, Akron police signed murder charges against Jones, who continues to be held in the county Juvenile Detention Center. By law, he is expected to be tried as an adult in Common Pleas court.
Jones had been awaiting trial on felonious assault charges. However, once Jones' daughter
died, police were expected to increase the charge to murder.
Joseph Gorman, who represents Jones in his criminal case, said the father is still grieving his daughter's death while fighting to prove his innocence.
''Obviously, for a 17-year-old kid, these series of events come as a shock to him,'' Gorman said. ''He's distraught over the death of his daughter, Jada, and saddened by the court's order removing her from life support.
''Nonetheless, John continues to have the resolve necessary to fight this matter in court and he's looking forward to having a jury hear his case. We believe once they do hear the evidence, he will be found not guilty.''
A murder conviction carries a minimum life prison sentence with parole possible after 15 years.
Jones first called authorities the morning of March 19 when Jada stopped breathing. He was home with Jada, her twin, Jzmine, and their 2-year-old brother, Ty'shaun.
Ruiz, 19, was attending classes at Akron Digital Academy that morning.
Jones, who was holding the infant when Akron officers arrived, told detectives that when he went to change Jada's diaper, the infant was unresponsive.
Officials said the girl suffered brain damage from shaken baby syndrome and also had multiple fractures to her legs and arms. Jzmine also had fractured legs.
She has recovered, officials said.
All three children had been placed in the temporary custody of the county's Children Services Board.
No court date has been set to determine when Jones' case would be moved to Common Pleas court.
The attorney has established a memorial fund for Jada's mother to defray the cost of the infant's funeral and headstone.
Contributions can be made to the Jada Ruiz Jones Memorial Fund at any FirstMerit Bank branch.
The funeral is scheduled for Saturday at the Rhoden Memorial Home in Akron.WordPress Tags: Rights,Kill,Teenage,father,welfare,Reform,Daughter,life,Phil,Trexler,Beacon,Journal,writer,John,Jones,Deja,Ruiz,Summit,Probate,Court,Judge,William,Spicer,Suba,Akron,View,version,infant,Jada,March,Children,Hospital,Bill,decision,Juvenile,Detention,Center,Common,Joseph,Gorman,death,innocence,series,events,jury,conviction,prison,authorities,Jzmine,Tyhaun,classes,Digital,Academy,girl,brain,syndrome,custody,Services,Board,attorney,memorial,cost,funeral,Contributions,Fund,FirstMerit,Bank,Rhoden,Home,Fathers,injuries,Pleas,officers,months,legs