Marjorie Jones' competency hearing to be held days before her trial is to begin

Marjorie Jones, who is accused of aiding her son in covering up the murder of his girlfriend, has a competency hearing scheduled on Jan. 18, four days before her trial is scheduled.

TERRI PEDERSON/Daily Citizen

JUNEAU — Marjorie Jones, who is accused of aiding her son in covering up the murder of his girlfriend, has a competency hearing scheduled Jan. 18, four days before her trial is scheduled.

Jones pleaded not guilty in February to felony counts for harboring/aiding a felon and possessing a firearm as a felon as a party to a crime. If convicted of both counts, the 65-year-old faces up to 20 years in prison and $50,000 in fines. Her trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 22.

Jones is the mother of Laverne Ware Jr., who is facing multiple charges including first-degree homicide, the death of Sesalie Dixon. The body of Dixon, Ware’s girlfriend who was also his first cousin, was found inside a pickup truck in a garage at a Fox Lake residence on Dec. 4, 2016. An autopsy revealed that she died of a gunshot to the head.

During Jones’ preliminary hearing on Dec. 15, 2016, detective Ted Sullivan of the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office testified that Vernon Mickey, Jones’ former boyfriend, told detectives he believed Jones and Ware were conspiring about what to do with Dixon’s body and were attempting to recruit him to help. Mickey is also charged in the case. He faces charges of harboring or aiding a felon and is out of jail on a $10,000 signature bond with a telephone scheduling conference scheduled on April 26.

Dodge County District Attorney Kurt Klomberg criticized the motion to seek a competency hearing for Jones.

“It’s a ploy in the 11th hour to move this trial and push it off into the unforeseen future,” Klomberg said.

Defense attorney Sylvie Dahnert said that was not true. Dahnert said she has had a lot of conversations with Jones and felt that there have been some serious changes in her mental health over the last month.

“She’s been homeless and off her meds for some time,” Dahnert said.

Klomberg said he believes the defense wants Jones’ trial to be delayed until after Ware’s, which is set to begin April 9.

“The victim has been dead for more than a year, and the trial has been on the court calendar for almost a year,” Klomberg said during the hearing Tuesday.

There are 27 witnesses lined up for the prosecution, Klomberg said.

“The statute doesn’t set the criteria for when competency is asked to be evaluated at the last minute,” Dodge County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Sciascia said. “If I find out this was done as a ploy, I won’t be very happy about it.”

Sciascia ordered for Jones’ evaluation to be done by Dr. Craig Schoenecker, Watertown, or one of his associates, and for the report to be expedited.

Reporter at The Daily Citizen