Woman testifies son argued with stepfather before stabbing

Thursday, September 12, 2002

A Scott City, Mo., teen accused of stabbing his stepfather to death with a steak knife listened to his mother testify at a preliminary hearing Wednesday about seeing the two men have a heated argument just minutes before the incident.

Christopher L. Jones, 19, was arrested July 10 by police after being found walking a few blocks away from the home at 602 Olive, with blood on his clothes and skin. He was charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of his stepfather, John D. Mayabb, 48, and is being held without bond.

Associate Circuit Judge David C. Mann found probable cause and bound the case over to the circuit level for an arraignment Oct. 21.

The victim's wife, Amy Mayabb, said her son and husband had a history of arguing because Jones would not keep a job and disobeyed rules.

She said her son showed up that night to ask to move back into their home, but her husband refused and ordered the teen to leave.

"I heard John say 'He's got a knife' and I screamed at him to stop and went to a phone to call the police," Mayabb said.

Defense attorney Albert Lowes asked Mayabb if Jones was acting differently that day, and she agreed with his "wild man" description of her son.

The court also heard witnesses Scott City police officer Cpl. David Leeman and Scott County Sheriff's Deputy Jeremy Bledsoe describe interviews with the suspect and his mother.

Leeman said Jones was covered with blood stains, spoke with a slur and smelled of alcohol.

However, when Jones was questioned about the whereabouts of the knife, Leeman said the teen stopped shaking his head and slurring and became very alert and clear.

"He said, 'What's in it for me?'" Leeman said. "He changed from incoherent to coherent."

Leeman said Jones told the officers where he threw the knife, but it was not found.

Mayabb said she is "helping" with her son's legal fees, but added relatives in Texas are also contributing.

At least nine members of the victim's family were present at the hearing, including his sisters, Marilyn Schildt of Scott City and Peggy Kelley of Killeen, Texas.

Several supporters also showed for Jones. The families sat apart during the tense hearing and occasionally eyed one another across the aisles.

mwells@semissourian.com

335-6611 extension 160

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