After two outbursts during the punishment phase of his trial Friday, a Dallas County jury sentenced Desmond Jones to 99 years in prison for his role in the kidnapping and killing of 13-year-old Lancaster girl Shavon Randle.
Randle was kidnapped in June 2017, in what authorities believe was retaliation for a drug deal turned robbery. Her body was found four days later. Though four people have been charged in the case, none face murder charges.
Jones was found guilty Friday afternoon of organizing in criminal activity and faced a sentence of life behind bars.
During the punishment phase of the trial, an unnamed member of Randle's family was the first to take the stand and offered tearful, emotional testimony of their lives since Randle's murder.
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In between witnesses, tensions escalated in the courtroom when Jones began verbally sparring with someone in the gallery. He became so agitated that the judge ordered the person from the courtroom and yelled at Jones to sit down.
Jones' younger sister then offered testimony to his character, saying her brother was not evil and was always one to stand up for those he was close to. It was then that Jones stood up and loudly said, "it don't even matter no more, bro." Jones was quickly taken into custody by several deputies and carried out of the courtroom. He continued speaking, but it was unintelligible.
After a short break, Jones was taken to a holding cell where he could watch the rest of the punishment phase of the trial. However, no further witnesses were called and the attorneys gave their closing arguments with the defense asking the jury to sentence him to 20 years while prosecutors fought for a life sentence.
At about 2:43 p.m. the jury began deliberating Jones' punishment. About an hour later they rendered their verdict of 99 years behind bars with no fine.
Just moments after sentencing, Randle’s mother, Shaquan Persley, reflected on what this means for her family.
“We’re not going to get her back. But we feel, it’s an amazing feeling to know that he won’t be back on these streets anymore,” said Persley. “I’m just happy we got our justice.”
Persley says she’s ready to continue the fight for her daughter, as three more people faces charges in connection to her kidnapping and death.
“It’s going to be tough but we’re going to get it done just like we got this one done,” she said.
Jones Trial the First of Four in Randle Case
Jones is one of four men facing charges in connection with the girl's death. New indictments filed last August implicated four men -- Darius Jamal Fields, Devonate Dasean Owens, Laquon Dishon Wilkerson and Jones -- in Randle's death.
Shavon Randle’s cousin, LaDoris Randle, took the stand Tuesday morning.
Randle admitted her boyfriend, Kendall Perkins, stole a large quantity of marijuana from a motel room were Laporshya Polley and Fields were staying.
The theft was captured on the motel’s surveillance video that was shown to jurors on Tuesday.
Prosecutors said LaDoris Randle was the intended kidnapping victim but was at work. She said she received phone calls from the kidnappers telling her, “If you don’t bring me back the drugs then I’m going to kill the bitch."
She said she then began to get calls coming from Shavon Randle's cell phone.
“They was like, 'You better not get the police involved. Bring us our drugs.' And then they hung up," LaDoris Randle said.
Randle was pressed about why she did not call police immediately and report her cousin’s kidnapping.
She argued she feared calling police and said she believed she and her boyfriend could get the girl back alive.
FBI Special Agent Jennifer Mullican also took the stand on Tuesday and testified she believed Shavon Randle was not only murdered as retaliation but also to send a message often seen in the "drug world."
“You can’t appear to be a punk,” she said. “If someone steals from you, you have to prove they can’t do that to you.”
During opening statements on Monday, the prosecution asked the jury to be patient because the story of what happened to Shavon Randle was complicated.
Comparing it to a puzzle, prosecutors said the chain of violence began with $250,000 of marijuana that was stolen from a gang to which Jones belonged. The man who allegedly took the drugs, Perkins, was dating Shavon Randle's cousin at the time, which prosecutors said led to Randle's kidnapping.
Prosecutors told jurors on Tuesday that the stolen drugs were never returned and allegedly had been tossed into the Trinity River.
”Desmond Jones was part of the conspiracy, the criminal activity, the crew that kidnapped a 13-year-old little girl and ultimately killed her," Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Falk told the jury.
Among the first to testify was FBI Special Agent Michael Mahan, who led the search for Randle and developed a "rapport" with Desmond Jones. Over the course of a few days, Jones was interviewed multiple times and ultimately led law enforcement to the drug house where Randle's body, and the body of an executed gang member, had been left.
“Smell of death hits you in the nose, it was terrible," Mahan said of arriving on scene at the home.
An interview Mahan taped with Jones was played for jurors, during which Jones could be heard telling Mahan he was present when Randle was shot and killed.
"I see the girl and I see the blood," Jones can be heard saying on the recording.
Jones’ defense attorney emphasized how Jones told the FBI that Michael Titus pulled the trigger.
“Do you have any evidence, the FBI or you, that anyone other than Mr. Titus shot Ms. Randle,” asked attorney Allan Fishburn.
“Not to my knowledge,” said FBI agent Michael Mahan.
Jones' defense team declined to give an opening statement.
Fields was sentenced to 18 years in prison in May 2019, while the other three men are still accused of aggravated kidnapping.
No one has yet been charged with her murder.