TACOMA, Wash. - The body of a man who was found Wednesday in a Tacoma home had been dismembered with a hand saw, the Pierce County prosecutors said.
The office charged 27-year-old John Jones Jr. with first-degree murder Monday in the slaying of 54-year-old Wayne Williams.
On Wednesday, Tacoma police were called to the house in the 2300 block of Tacoma Avenue South regarding a death.
Jones’ mother, who lives in the home with Jones, his younger brother and his uncle, told officers she noticed a foul odor that morning.
A news release from the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office said that Jones’ mother entered Jones’ bedroom and discovered a body lying on the floor on top of a mattress. The head and the legs were in separate bags, presumably for disposal, police said.
Investigators questioned Jones, who told them he and Williams used drugs together, but claimed he didn’t know how he died and that Williams owed money to people, prosecutors said.
Initially, Jones attempted to blame local gangs, including the Bloods and the Crips, for the killing, but no evidence supported this, the news release said.
Preliminary reports from the autopsy indicated Williams suffered numerous defensive, puncture-style wounds to the hand and head, police said. Investigators said the victim’s legs and his head had been severed after he was dead, likely with a hand saw recovered in the bedroom.
Prosecutors said Jones’ efforts to dismember Williams’ body with a hand saw took place over several hours, at least. Shoes and socks were still on the severed legs, they said.
The coroner said Williams died from manual strangulation.
Police said they determined the slaying occurred in Jones’ room on Mar. 18 or 19. Authorities said Jones was the only person in the home who accessed his bedroom during that time frame.
Police said Jones suggested that he could have been asleep in the bedroom while Williams was killed and dismembered. He slept on a couch in the living room Tuesday night, rather than in his bedroom with the dismembered body, prosecutors said.
Following the discovery of the body, investigators clad in biohazard suits, some wearing face masks, were seeing swarming the house. At that time, police would only say the scene was complicated and gruesome.
“As soon as this strange crime was reported, Tacoma police moved quickly and received cooperation from the other residents in the house,” said prosecutor Mark Lindquist.
Jones pleaded not guilty Monday afternoon to first-degree murder during his arraignment at the County City Building in Tacoma.