The father of a Kansas City, Kan., boy who was abused, tortured, starved and ultimately fed to pigs was sentenced Monday to life in prison.
Michael A. Jones, 46, was sentenced in Wyandotte County Circuit Court where he pleaded guilty in March to first-degree felony murder in the death of his 7-year-old son, Adrian Jones.
Under Kansas law, he will have to serve 25 years before he can seek parole.
“He got off light,” said Jennifer Hoevers, the woman who rented the home to Jones and his family and who found video clips and photos showing the abuse Adrian suffered. “And it makes me angry.”
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Jones did not speak before he was sentenced.
He did not turn and look at other speakers, including Adrian’s grandmother, mother and sister, and a Kansas City, Kan., police detective who investigated the case.
“I think he has no remorse,” said Judy Conway, Adrian’s maternal grandmother, after the sentencing. “Either that or he was totally embarrassed by what he’s done.”
At one point, Conway addressed Jones, whom she had begged to see Adrian in the three to four years Jones had custody of him.
“I hope for every breath you take for the rest of your life that Adrian is in your thoughts,” Conway told Jones.
During the hearing, Detective Stuart Littlefield choked back tears as he described the horrific abuse that Adrian suffered.
Littlefield said he had never seen anything like it in his 23-year law enforcement career.
He described how the little boy was shocked with a stun gun by his stepmother, sometimes for as long as 20 seconds. He paused in his remarks for 20 seconds to illustrate how long that was.
“Imagine the screams of a 7-year-old boy,” the detective said. “Twenty seconds is a very long time when you’re in agony.”
Jones’ wife, and Adrian’s stepmother, Heather Jones, 31, previously pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and child abuse.
She was sentenced to the same term of life in prison with no possibility of parole for 25 years for the murder conviction. She was sentenced to an additional five years and eight months in prison for the child abuse.
The little boy’s remains were found in November 2015 in a barn on property rented by Michael and Heather Jones in the 5200 block of North 99th Street.
Police had gone to the house the day before to investigate a domestic disturbance. While there, officers learned that Adrian had not been seen in several months and might have been killed.
Investigators also learned that surveillance cameras were set up throughout the home and captured the abuse endured by Adrian for months.
At Heather Jones’ sentencing, a prosecutor said the boy had essentially starved to death.
Conway said Monday that through the family’s pain, they will always remember the sweet little boy he was.
“We will grieve, ache and love Adrian with all our hearts and souls,” she said. “Being his grandmother is the best gift I’ve ever had.”
Detective Littlefield said Monday he was speaking not just for Adrian, but in honor of Detective Brad Lancaster, who began investigating the case before he was killed in the line of duty last year.
“Brad was Adrian’s champion,” he said. “... Brad put everything into this case, but he was murdered before he could see it through.”
Littlefield also said that he sometimes drives past other houses and wonders about other children.
“Adrian is gone,” Littlefield said. “We can’t change what happened, and we can’t bring him back. But we can change the future. There are children being abused right now. ... We must find these children — for Adrian and for Brad.”
As for Conway, she said someone from the family will be there when and if Michael Jones goes up for parole in 25 years.
“If I’m not here for some reason, she’ll be there,” Conway said as she gestured to her granddaughter — and Adrian’s big sister — Keiona. “I can count on her.”