These guys are talking about control.

(two interestin




48 Hours Murder Comes Knocking 02.10.07

Run Dates


02.10.07 48 Hours Murder Comes Knocking

07.28.07 48 Hours Murder Comes Knocking

Murder Comes Knocking
A Gift Lures An Unsuspecting Dad To His Death

(Page 1 of 6)Feb. 10, 2007
Jarrod Davidson, right, with his daughter, Malia. (CBS)

(CBS) Jarrod Davidson was gunned down outside of his Santa Barbara apartment in July 2004, after someone had left what he thought was a gift — a potted plant — at his front door.


As 48 Hours correspondent Maureen Maher reports, Jarrod, 27, was going through a nasty custody battle at the time of his murder.

And while detectives had a theory early on who might be linked to the crime, it was a clue found in that potted plant that would turn this investigation upside down.


Jarrod's cousins, Courtney and Marissa, grew up close to Jarrod and his younger brother, Michael. "When it's the three of us, when it’s our family and he’s missing…it hurts," says Courtney.

The tragedy has scarred everyone in this tight-knit family.

It was not until he was in college that Jarrod discovered his true passion: chemistry. And it was in chemistry class where he met Kelee Jones.

Kelee says a misprint in the class schedule led her to the "wrong room on the right day. And he was in the right room on the wrong day."

"There was an instant attraction on both ends," she remembers. And she says she fell in love.

About a year after they met, Jarrod and Kelee moved in together. And not long after that, they had some big news to break to both families: "We sat down at a table across from each other and immediately he said, 'Well the reason you’re here is because Kelee’s pregnant.' And not a heartbeat after that, she said, 'And I’m not having an abortion,'" remembers Jarrod's father Richard.

Kelee says she wasn't trying to get pregnant but that it was a "pleasant surprise." But Jarrod's parents, Richard and Susan, believe she got pregnant intentionally.

Kelee was three months pregnant in January 2000, when she and Jarrod got married. But from the very beginning, the marriage showed signs of trouble.

"I remember once after they were married, me and a friend went to visit them. And she started complaining that he didn’t squeeze the toothpaste right. And I said, 'You know what? Me and my boyfriend have the exact same problem. We’ve decided to buy two separate tubes of toothpaste. You have yours, I’ll have mine. Life will go on.' She looked at me like I said the most ridiculous thing in the world. And she went, 'No, he just needs to do it the right way,'" Courtney recalls.

In July of that year, Kelee gave birth to a girl, who they named Malia. "He was so happy. Just so proud and so happy," Courtney remembers.

But those happy feelings didn’t last very long. Besides the new baby, Jarrod and Kelee were both still in school and he worked part-time teaching. In fact, they both had jobs, so most of the childcare fell to Kelee’s parents, Phil and Mindy Jones.

Jarrod and Kelee’s relationship continued to deteriorate. "She started making accusations that he wasn’t home enough, that he must be sleeping with his study partner," says Jarrod's mother Susan.

Before Malia's first birthday, Jarrod had moved out and filed for divorce. The court awarded Kelee custody and granted Jarrod visitation; but Kelee made it very difficult for Jarrod to see his own daughter.

"I thought because I had done most of the care giving that it might do them both a little bit of good to take their time and ease into it," says Kelee.

But over time, things only got worse—fighting over Malia went on for the next three years. At times, Jarrod and Kelee both dragged sheriff's deputies into the mess to mediate their visitation disputes.

So when Santa Barbara Detective Greg Sorenson was called to Jarrod’s apartment the night of the murder, he was already well aware of the family’s domestic problems.

"Instantly, I thought of his ex-wife possibly being involved in this," says Sorenson. "If anybody had the motive to have this carried out, it was her."

But neighbors had reported seeing two suspicious-looking people quickly leaving the apartment complex.

Kelee was immediately brought in for questioning. "I told her during the course of the interview that he had been murdered," remembers Sorenson. "She didn’t show a lot of emotion. Wasn’t until we had mentioned to her how we were suspicious of the way she reacted to us that she started to cry."

While she may have had the motive to commit murder, Kelee also had a strong alibi for that night, telling detectives she was with her daughter and a friend about 90 miles from Jarrod’s apartment.

Her story checked out, but investigators weren’t convinced that Kelee was entirely innocent. Finally, the big break they desperately needed came thanks to, of all things, the potted plant that had been found at the crime scene.

Detectives believed someone had knocked on the door to deliver the plant as a gift and lure Jarrod outside; police discovered the plant had been purchased at a nearby store just minutes before the murder.

Police had gotten a video surveillance tape from the store, showing a disguised person buying the plant. "She's wearing a baseball cap, a large baggy sweatshirt," says Sorenson.

That was the same description of the female seen leaving Jarrod’s apartment complex just after the shooting. "It looked like Kelee Davidson. The person appeared to be the same size, same build and walked similar to her," says Sorenson.

But Kelee did have that alibi. The investigation was just beginning and it would take nearly five months for detectives to realize this case was anything but simple.

Sorenson thought there was more than just the store surveillance video that could link Kelee to her ex-husband's murder.

Detectives were convinced that the gift card in that plant that was found outside of Jarrod’s apartment had his name purposely misspelled. "It looked like the person was trying to disguise their handwriting and disguise their true knowledge of his name," says Sorenson.

That’s all a good theory, but it wasn't hard evidence which this case badly needed if there was ever going to be an arrest. Finally, five months after Jarrod’s murder, detectives got another big break and once again, the potted plant would play a pivotal role. But this time, it was from the plastic card holder that was in the plant, found near Jarrod’s body.

A state crime lab discovered female DNA on that card holder, apparently from someone’s hands. And Det. Sorenson felt pretty sure he knew whose DNA was on the cardholder; police immediately went to Kelee Davison with a search warrant for her DNA.

In trying to build a case against Kelee, detectives also decided to focus on her relationship with her parents, Phil and Mindy Jones.

Kelee said she was "extremely" close to her parents, and that she discussed "everything" with them. Investigators quickly determined that Kelee didn’t make a move without consulting her parents, especially her mother.

Phil and Mindy Jones actively supported their daughter in her visitation and custody fight with Jarrod. "These are people that you’re either with us or you’re against us," Sorenson claims. "And God forbid you be against them!”

It became a long and ugly court battle. And Kelee’s parents clearly saw Jarrod as being against them. "Well, the arrangement was that he would pick Malia up at Kelee’s apartment. But because Kelee worked late then he would have to drop her off to Mindy and Phil. Early on, they would call him names," says Richard.

Richard says they didn't say the names to Jarrod's face but Malia's. "She'd take Malia out of the car and say, 'Your daddy’s an a--h---!'" he says.

Sometimes, weeks would go by and Jarrod would be kept from seeing his child.

"They started attacking me in the courtroom saying that I wasn’t cooperating, that I was doing everything that I could to be vindictive and take her away from him," says Kelee, who didn't see it that way.

But a judge apparently did: in court documents, a judge condemned Kelee’s ongoing refusal to allow Jarrod to see his daughter. The judge questioned Kelee's honesty and her respect for court orders, strongly suggesting that if she continued to deny Jarrod visitation, Kelee could actually lose custody of Malia altogether.

"Jarrod Davidson was going to go back to court to try to get full custody of that girl," says Sorenson. "And that is the last thing they wanted to have happen."

"They wanted him out of their lives. They wanted him out of the picture," the detective claims.

Just 19 days before that hearing, Jarrod was murdered.

Investigator decided to question Kelee’s father Phil, who denied any involvement in the killing and told them he couldn’t have shot Jarrod because he was physically incapable of holding or firing a rifle. Phil claimed he had been disabled in a nearly fatal car accident in the early 1980’s, when he worked as a carpenter.

"Phil had painted the picture and told us his hand was crippled. And he couldn’t carry anything," says Sorenson. "Well, we decided to put surveillance on them. Just to see how incapacitated he really is."

Police followed Phil and Mindy with hidden cameras and captured video of Phil picking up what Sorenson believed was a case of wine. "And it’s certainly heavier than a rifle," the detective says.

Asked if Phil was lying, Sorenson says, "Right!”

If Kelee’s father was lying about that, the detective wondered what else he might be lying about.

Phil and Mindy Jones told investigators they were on a beach some 90 miles away from Jarrod when he was ambushed and gunned down. What they didn’t realize was their cell phone was tracking their every move, and it indicated they were nowhere near the beach.

Cell tower records indicated that Kelee placed a call to her parents that night, before the murder occurred, and that they were actually driving down a highway, directly towards Jarrod's apartment.

“Well, that’s very critical. That punches a hole in their alibi being at the beach," says Sorensen.

But there was still the unanswered question about whose DNA was on that plant card holder. Sorensen was shocked to learn it wasn't Kelee's but her mother Mindy's, who he now suspected played a pivotal role in Jarrod’s murder.

"I believe that Malinda [a.k.a. "Mindy"] was the one to put the plan together in exactly how they were going to eliminate him," Sorenson says.

Six months after Jarrod’s fatal shooting, his ex-mother-in-law Mindy Jones was arrested for his murder. Detectives took a closer look at that store surveillance video and now believed it was Mindy, not her daughter Kelee who was seen buying that potted plant used to lure Jarrod out of his apartment.

"When she checked out of the checkout stand she had the sleeves of her sweatshirt pulled up over her hands, which appeared to us she was doing everything she could to cover-up possible fingerprints on the pot," says Sorenson.

But apparently, Mindy let her guard down for just one critical moment—a moment caught on just one frame of that store video. "We see that person appears to reach and grab what we believe was a plastic card holder," Sorenson explains.

It was the moment detectives believed Mindy transferred DNA from her hand to the card holder.

Phil Jones was arrested not long after his wife Mindy. Detectives were now convinced they both murdered their ex-son-in-law.

Sorenson retraced the steps for 48 Hours that detectives believe they took that night.

"Malinda went up to the door, placed the plant down on the doorstep, knocked on his door, while Philip was about 15 to 20 feet away, over in the bushes with that high-powered rifle. Jarrod peered out the window to look to see what was outside. He went to get the plant and at that point Philip Jones shot and killed him," Sorenson says.

Even though Kelee was nowhere near the crime scene, she was also arrested, though her alleged role in all of this was far from clear.

Sorensen believed Kelee was involved in the planning of the murder from the very beginning. At this point though, there was no evidence to support that and Kelee and her parents all claimed they were innocent. "The reality of it is I had nothing to do with the death of Malia’s father," Kelee tells Maher. "I did not kill her father."

Next to Jarrod himself, perhaps the most tragic victim of this murder is Jarrod’s little girl, Malia, who was just three years old at the time of the shooting.

Malia turned six last summer. She has suffered an overwhelming loss. Her father was murdered; her mother was arrested, as were the grandparents with whom she had spent nearly every day of her life.

Jarrod’s parents are now raising Malia and trying to help her deal with this tremendous vacuum in her life. "I think the wisest thing that the therapist ever said to us was, 'If you treat her as if she’s broken, she will be.' And to be honest with her," says Susan.

When Jarrod was murdered, Kelee told Malia only that a bad man had shot her daddy.

Seventeen months after Jarrod's murder, authorities finally managed to get Philip Jones to confess to the killing. But he did so only after prosecutors agreed that his daughter Kelee would not be tried for the murder.

The Davidsons went to court to see their son’s killer sentenced, but it was a stunningly different Philip Jones they saw: while in jail he had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

Struggling just to breathe, Phil Jones admitted he pulled the trigger. "I shot and killed Jarrod," he admitted in court. "Mindy and I believed that we needed to do something."

As part of a plea deal, the judge reluctantly allowed Kelee’s father to offer his explanation for why he did it: Philip Jones claimed that Jarrod was molesting Malia and had to be stopped.

This sickening accusation against Jarrod first came from Kelee, roughly four months before the murder. Kelee says she learned of it from Malia. "I just thought, with her going to preschool, and that maybe she needs to know where it's okay for people to touch her and where it’s not," says Kelee. "I asked her if anybody touched her where they shouldn't. And when she said, 'Yes,' I said, 'Who?' And she said 'My daddy does.'"

Kelee contacted the authorities, and Det. Sorenson was assigned to help investigate what was a very serious allegation. And at first it seemed there might be something to the charge.

Sorensen says Jarrod failed a lie detector test over one key question. "It was a question about inappropriate touching. He was very nervous which was understandable," the detective says.

Because stress can sometimes lead to false results, Jarrod's parents paid for him to undergo a second, privately administered polygraph test, which he passed. Investigators dug deeper and found no evidence to substantiate the claim.

"We were not able to find any physical evidence, any corroborating statements, anything that would show that, yes, he did molest that girl," Sorenson says.

Prosecutors refused to take the case, since they believed the claim was fabricated.

That was also the firm belief of the entire Davidson family, who were horrified by the allegations, believing Kelee made them up for her custody fight.

Richard Davidson, wearing his murdered son’s hockey jersey, was allowed to address the court.

He angrily defended Jarrod. "We have also seen repeated lies told solely for the purpose of slandering Jarrod's good name as a sick attempt to justify the defendant's murderous act."

Perhaps equally outraged was the judge in this case. "Jarrod Davidson does not have the ability to respond to these allegations because you killed him. You murdered him! This is an execution murder, lying in wait. Thank you. Court’s adjourned," the judge said.


Jones was sentenced to life in prison, with no chance of parole. He was sent to a special hospice unit inside a California prison. Since his sentencing, it appears for the moment that his health has improved dramatically.

In an exclusive interview with 48 Hours, Phil Jones continued to insist that Malia was molested.

"I know for a fact, because she told me,” Phil claims.

He also claimed he was very sensitive to what Malia said, because he too had been a victim of molestation as a child.

"Did you or your daughter ever ask your son-in-law if he had done this? Or if there could be any explanation for it?" Maher asks.

"No, I did not. I didn’t ask him," Phil replies.

Philip Jones decision to commit murder appeared to be based solely on the word of a three-year old child. A child, prosecutors were convinced, who was coached into making the claim.

"Maybe Malia might have said something. But three-year olds say things that aren’t necessarily true and use that as an excuse to go out and murder somebody is outrageous," says Sorenson.

Asked if there wasn't another choice than to shoot Jarrod, Phil says, "I sure couldn’t think of one. I could not…I just couldn't come up with anything else."

Phil now feels he must protect his daughter Kelee.

The fact that he has terminal cancer, Phil says, had nothing to do with his decision to shoot Jarrod, because he says he didn't know he was sick at the time.

But knowledge of his fatal illness probably made his plea deal to be locked away for what life he has left a little easier to accept.

"I just confessed and plead guilty, in exchange for my daughter being taken out of the equation," Phil tells Maher. "She was threatened with life imprisonment. And as everyone knows, there are a lot of innocent people in prison."

Phil insisted Kelee had no part in the murder plot.

As part of the deal, Kelee was allowed to plead guilty to three lesser charges, but each was still a serious a crime—accessory to murder and two counts of perjury.

Outside of court, Kelee remained quite defiant. "By entering the plea, I was in essence lying in the courtroom," she said. "The charges I plead guilty to is that I helped cover-up after the fact."

Kelee insisted she didn't help with a cover up. Asked why she agreed to the plea, she says, "Because in my opinion our justice system is flawed just enough that I couldn’t trust a jury. I would be gambling my entire life and Lia’s."

Kelee was sentenced to four years in prison, but with good behavior she could be out after serving only about a year-and-a-half.

It was an outrage to Jarrod’s father Richard, who again addressed the court. "As for my son’s ex-wife, whom I believe is personally responsible for the death of my son and for tormenting him throughout the precious time he had with his daughter—she should receive the maximum sentence permitted by law."

So with Kelee avoiding a long prison sentence, and her father’s deal done, it left Kelee’s mother Mindy as the last—and perhaps the biggest target of them all.

Sorenson still believed Mindy was the mastermind behind all this. But mastermind or not, Mindy refused a plea deal for herself. She would take her chances in court. But there was a problem: it seemed Mindy couldn't remember anything—six months after her arrest, Mindy woke up one morning in jail claiming she had lost her memory.

"Yeah, she claimed that she had amnesia and that she had lost her memory and didn’t know who anybody was," says Sorenson. "Very convenient."

But it was not convenient for Mindy’s attorney, Robert Landheer. He says she is completely incapable of assisting in her own defense, like trying to explain why her DNA was on the plant card holder found at the murder scene.

"She asserts to this day that she doesn’t remember what happened," Landheer explains.

Compounding matters for the defense, the witness with the greatest potential to harm Mindy was her own husband, Phil, who was called to testify by the prosecution.

Phil did his best to not cooperate, by refusing to answer questions, like, "Was your wife with you when you shot Jarrod Davidson?"

But the judge ordered Phil to testify.

The defense hoped at worst to make a case for voluntary manslaughter—suggesting, that in her mind, Mindy had to kill Jarrod to protect her granddaughter. But the prosecutor maintained that the family made the whole thing up and the judge this time refused to allow any mention of the alleged molestation.

As Landheer saw it, the truth of whether Jarrod molested Malia was not even the real issue here. "They honestly held that belief that the child was going to suffer some harm at his hands," he says. "It was perhaps misguided and tragic."

But given the tough restrictions from the judge, the defense was left only with the opportunity to hint to the jurors that there's more to the story than they were told.

"Crime is sometimes evil. And sometimes crime is not crime. Sometimes it is justifiable," says Landheer.

Throughout it all, Mindy maintained she remembered absolutely nothing of Jarrod’s killing but that she was innocent of the murder charges against her. The jury took several hours over two days to reach a guilty verdict for the crime of murder.

Mindy showed no reaction to the verdict or to the sentence, life in prison, with no chance of parole.

Jarrod's parents and brother feel it is very important for Malia to visit her father's grave. "It says he was a devoted father, your daddy, and he was our son and he was Mikey's brother," Richard tells Malia.

Richard still feels tremendous guilt, convinced he could have somehow prevented his son’s murder. As he describes it, he had secretly feared that the Joneses might murder his son to get him out of Malia’s life.

"And I didn’t share that with him or my wife," Richard says. "And I will live with that guilt for the rest of my life, for not sharing that."

As for Kelee, it is thought of her daughter that keep her going. Asked how much she misses Malia, Kelee says, "I don’t even think I can describe it. I miss everything about her. She is the reason I got up every morning. She’s the reason I went to work. She’s the reason I took the deal, so I can get home with her."

And it is Kelee's intense feelings for Malia that have the Davidsons worried about their own safety.

"She’s in jail. There are bad people in jail. Our concern is that she develops a relationship that gets us murdered," says Richard.

As it is, the Davidsons already face a tough challenge. Somehow, they have to help their granddaughter piece together her life as she tries to make sense of her father’s senseless murder by people she had trusted and loved.

"As she grows up, she’ll learn more and she’ll understand more," says Susan.

It has been an emotionally devastating two-and-a-half years for Richard and Susan Davidson and their ordeal may be far from over.

"This is never going to stop. This will never stop," they both say.

Never stop, because their granddaughter Malia’s future remains uncertain. Kelee vows to fight the Davidsons to regain custody when she gets out of prison.

"I believe it’s gonna be a difficult battle," Kelee tells Maher. "But I don’t believe it’s a battle I can’t win."


Kelee Davidson is expected to be released from prison this July.






02.08.07 ML  look alike








01:00 -


02:00 -


03:00 -


04:00 -


05:00 -


06:00 -


07:00 -


08:00 -


09:00 -


10:00 -


11:00 -


12:00 -


13:00 -


14:00 -


15:00 -


16:00 -


17:00 -


18:00 -


19:00 -


20:00 -


21:00 -


22:00 -


23:00 -


24:00 -


25:00 -


26:00 -


27:00 -


28:00 -


29:00 -


30:00 -


31:00 -


32:00 -


33:00 -


34:00 -


35:00 -


36:00 -


37:00 -


38:00 -


39:00 -


40:00 -


41:00 -


42:00 -


43:00 -


44:00 -


45:00 -


46:00 -


47:00 -


48:00 -


49:00 -


50:00 -


51:00 -


52:00 -


53:00 -


54:00 -


55:00 -


56:00 -


57:00 -


58:00 -


59:00 -


60:00 -