Trenton man gets 38 years, says nothing to families of slain teens
Alton Jones, the notorious half-brother of the Skillman twins, was bent on settling a score. But he missed his target twice, instead killing two innocent bystanders in a span of three days on the streets of Trenton, prosecutors said.
His actions “literally broke” a mother’s heart – she died a year after her daughter, whom family affectionately dubbed the “snack baby” because of her affinity for sweets, was fatally shot in the stomach behind the Rowan Towers on West State Street in Trenton.
Jones was sent to prison Friday for 38 years – 32 which he must serve before he could be paroled – for killing victims Rayshawn Ransom and Tierra Green, both 19, days apart in June 2013.
Jones – who fled to New Haven, Conn., and was arrested after a police standoff – pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal with prosecutors earlier this year to two counts of aggravated manslaughter.
He sat blankly and coldly while listening as the victims’ families gave tear-filled tributes to their loved ones.
Tierra Green’s parents never got to confront their daughter’s killer. Tia Green died of a heart attack Sept. 12, 2014. Her husband, Elliot Simon Jr., was murdered in Trenton on April 8, 2016.
Tiffany Hollingshead, Tierra’s aunt, said everything her sister Tia Green couldn’t say to Jones.
While she said she couldn’t hate Jones, who has a 5-year-old daughter with one of the Green family’s close friends, she admonished him for destroying three families. As she spoke, another family member held up a framed photograph of the last time Tierra and mother posed together.
“You took away three lives,” s
he said. “My niece’s life, Ray’s life and your own life.”
One of Tia Green’s Facebook posts was read in court. The post, poetic and prophetic, discussed Tia’s feelings of despair and hope for justice. She talked about how her tax dollars would be funneled to a man in prison for killing her daughter “in cold blood.”
Rhythmically repeating the phrase “Free Alton Jones,” Tia said that even if Jones makes it out of prison alive, he will never be freed from Tierra’s spirit, which will “invade your sleep.”
Assistant Prosecutor Stephanie Katz read a letter from Ransom’s family, written by his sister. In the letter, she said she is haunted by memories of holding her brother’s lifeless hand at the hospital along with the stench of dried blood on his body.
She said that however long Jones spends in prison it will “never be enough.”
Her sentiments mirrored Katz, who urged Judge Thomas Brown to go along with the recommended sentence.
“No matter how much time he does, it will not bring back these young people,” she said.
Prior to the judge handing down the sentence, Jones was given an opportunity to speak.
He didn’t apologize or offer any words showing he recognized the impact his actions had on the victims’ families.
The only scrap of emotion Jones showed was when he got mad at a sheriff officer for threatening to kick his family members out of the courtroom for apparently snickering at the victims’ families.
Jones had words with the sheriff officer and had to be calmed down by his attorney, Andrew Duclair.
Duclair said his client privately expressed remorse and did not intend to kill Green or Ransom.
Duclair said his client was gunning for another man whom he had squabbled with in the past. Violence erupted because Jones and a group of men had beef with people who hailed from Passaic Street.
Two other men were arrested, charged and pleaded guilty for their roles in Ransom’s death.
Duclair said nothing excused Jones’ decisions.
“My heart is broken hearing this,” Duclair said.