SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — Moments after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a teenage relative of his live-in girlfriend, an English teacher slashed his throat Wednesday with a razor in a Santa Ana courtroom.
Jeffrey Scott Jones of Huntington Beach, who was out of custody on bail during his trial, was rushed to a hospital.
“Right after the judge asked if we wanted jurors polled, both attorneys said no, and then he took a razor out of his left pocket and slashed his throat,” Senior Deputy District Attorney Heather Brown said. “His head hit the table and I thought he fainted, but then I saw the blood and the razor on the table.”
Orange County Superior Court Steven Bromberg had advised the 56-year-old defendant on Tuesday that if he was found guilty, he would be taken into custody immediately.
“I didn’t see it even though I was sitting next to him,” defense attorney Ed Welbourn said, adding that his client apparently cut the artery in his neck.
“At that point, he passed out or something happened and he hit the table, which is when I noticed something was happening,” Welbourn said. “It’s very unfortunate, the whole thing,” he said. “We respect the jury’s decision, but we thought there was reasonable doubt as to what occurred… It’s just terrible. The good news is it looks like he will recover.”
Orange County Sheriff’s Lt. Mark Stichter said there will be an investigation into how Jones “was able to have (a razor blade) in court and provide answers to that.”
Jurors deliberated about two hours before convicting Jones of two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and one count of continuous sexual abuse. He faces up to 66 years to life in prison.
Jones was a teacher of Advanced Placement English classes at the Libra Academy in Huntington Park at the time the felony charges were filed.
According to prosecutors, he had sex with the girl in May 2013 and molested her at various times from Sept. 2012 through April 2013.
Brown told jurors that the defendant’s girlfriend accused the teen of “framing Mr. Jones” and had her placed in a youth shelter. The girl was subsequently placed in a county facility, and also in several foster homes, Brown said.
Brown presented evidence during the trial that Jones had sexual relationships with two underage students who were 16 at the time and later married them.
Welbourn argued that clothes and sheets collected by investigators at Jones’ home show no physical evidence backing up the girl’s claims. He also brushed off DNA evidence linking the defendant to the sexual assault.
“The District Attorney wants you to believe the DNA of Mr. Jones is somehow their smoking gun,” Welbourn said, telling jurors that members of the household used the same shower, bathroom, towels and other items in explaining
how the defendant’s DNA could end up on the girl.
“Nobody saw anything inappropriate” between the girl and Jones, Welbourn said.
Welbourn accused the girl of “concocting a story” because she was smoking marijuana and trying to hide it.
KCAL9’s Stacey Butler spoke to some of Jones’ neighbors Wednesday evening.
They told her they were less concerned about Jones hurting himself than they were about him being unable to hurt another child.
“I can go to bed tonight and know that my daughter’s gonna be safe,” said neighbor Ken Deleske.
Michele Deleske concurred.
“I have a young teenage daughter in this house. I would worry about her every time we left because I wasn’t sure what he was capable of doing.”
Ken said he took all precautions.
“I taught my daughter how to use my shotgun and told her if he ever comes into the house, shoot him.”