The father of a Kansas City, Kan., boy whose body was consumed by pigs after he was killed in 2015 pleaded guilty Friday.
Michael A. Jones, 46, pleaded guilty in Wyandotte County District Court to one count of first-degree murder in the death of 7-year-old Adrian Jones.
The little boy’s remains were found in November 2015 on property rented by Jones and his wife in the 5200 block of North 99th Street.
Judy Conway, Adrian’s maternal grandmother, said Friday she had prepared herself for next month’s trial. She was scheduled to testify and was hoping to find out more about her grandson’s last days and the abuse he went through.
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Yet, Conway said, she felt “relieved” to hear about the guilty plea.
“It makes me pretty happy,” Conway told The Star on Friday afternoon. “I’m relieved that he (Jones) and Heather (Jones) will hopefully be behind bars for the rest of their life. It won’t bring Adrian back, of course, but it makes me feel really good that neither one can hurt another child again.”
Jones’ wife and the boy’s stepmother, 31-year-old Heather Jones, previously pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and child abuse. She was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years for the murder conviction. She received an additional sentence of five years and eight months in prison for the child abuse.
Sentencing for Michael Jones is scheduled for May 3. He also faces a life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.
When the charges were filed, former Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerry Gorman said it was one the worst cases seen by Kansas City, Kan., police detectives.
A spokesman said Friday that current District Attorney Mark Dupree was unavailable for comment.
According to court documents, Adrian died sometime in September or October 2015, but his death was not reported to authorities.
On the day before Thanksgiving 2015, Kansas City, Kan., police were called to the family’s home on a domestic disturbance.
Michael Jones was arrested and later charged with aggravated battery and aggravated assault in connection with that disturbance.
Police were investigating that case when they learned that Adrian had not been seen for several months and may have been killed.
They obtained a search warrant and on Thanksgiving Day, investigators found human remains in a barn.
The remains were later identified as Adrian’s after DNA testing.
Heather and Michael Jones were charged in December 2015 with first-degree murder and child abuse.
At the sentencing for Heather Jones last November, she tearfully told a judge that she was deeply sorry.
The veteran prosecutor who handled the case said it was the most heinous case she had handled in her 27-year career.
Sheryl Lidtke, who is no longer with the district attorney’s office, said that Adrian had been physically and emotionally abused, confined and “essentially starved to death.”
“He was horribly abused, neglected and ultimately killed,” Lidtke said at Heather Jones’ sentencing. “I’m sure his suffering was unbearable.”