Man testifies in his own defense in trial for prostitute’s murder in Wyoming

by Barton Deiters | The Grand Rapids Press
Monday June 29, 2009, 7:17 PM

GRAND RAPIDS — After Wyoming Police told Sid Terrell Jones that he was about to be questioned about the stabbing death of Janeane Lusk, he waited until he was alone in the tiny interrogation room, took the liner out of a nearby trash can and put it over his head in an apparent suicide attempt, police said.

Jones is accused of killing Lusk after picking up the mother, prostitute and drug addict as she stood along South Division Avenue on April 26, 2008. On Monday, Jones testified in his own defense during his trial in Kent County Circuit Court.

Prosecutors have been working to prove the 31-year-old defendant stabbed the woman in an industrial parking lot along the 3700 block of Linden Avenue SE in Wyoming, where her body was discovered by a truck driver.

Assistant Kent County Prosecutor Kevin Bramble introduced evidence that linked Jones to the parking lot through videos showing his car coming and going from the lot; by a discarded condom with the DNA of Jones and his alleged victim on it; and glass from a window broken out of the 2001 Ford Escape he was driving found in the parking lot, in Jones’ house and on the body of the dead 37-year-old.

Bramble also put another admitted prostitute on the stand, who said the night before Lusk died, she was picked up by Jones and the two went to the same Linden Avenue lot where the body was found. The woman testified that Jones put a knife to her face and ordered her out of his car.

Before they had sex in the back of the car belonging to Jones’ fiancee, Laura Dykstra testified that Jones told her he had “43 whole dollars” and placed the money on the dashboard — indicating to her that the price for her services had been agreed upon.

Jones admits that he used his fiancee’s car to pick up the prostitutes, and to going with them to the parking lot where they had sex and he tossed the condoms. He also said he ordered Dykstra out of the car, but only after she called him a racial slur and he paid her $20.

“I told her to get out and get out right now,” Jones said. But he denied he used a knife to threaten Dykstra, just as he denied he killed Lusk.

The victim was stabbed once through the ear, once in the abdomen and the fatal wound came from a stab that went through her upper right arm, slicing her brachial artery.

Under questioning from his attorney John Beason, Jones — who remained calm and polite throughout his testimony — firmly denied he stabbed Lusk. Instead, he said Lusk become outraged when Jones reneged on an agreed-upon price of $20.

Jones said he refused to allow Lusk to get back into his car and she somehow managed to break the window on the passenger’s door before he took off.

Jones’s fiancee, Paula Wood, said when Jones showed up at Family Fare where she worked as a cashier, he told her some kids had broken the window and she insisted that a police report be filed, so he repeated that story to the police.

Under prompting from Bramble, Jones admitted he lied about how the window had been broken but said it was the angry and living Lusk, whom he left in that parking lot.

“I didn’t have the 20 whole dollars she asked for,” Jones said.

Upon hearing this, Bramble pounced, saying this was the same turn of phrase that Dykstra had reported Jones using with her when he told her he had “43 whole dollars.”

Jones admitted he used the phrase, but continue to deny that he told Dykstra about the money.

“Anything that doesn’t incriminate you, you agree with,” Bramble said. He also asked Jones if he was above lying to get out of trouble.

Jones agreed that accusation was fair to say.

Both attorneys are expected to give their closing arguments Tuesday before the case goes to the jury.

E-mail Barton Deiters:

Original at MLive

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