Opening arguments begin death penalty trial in Dayton

Judge in Harvey Lee Jones death penalty case has jurors sign media waiver (WDTN Photo/Josh Ames).
Judge in Harvey Lee Jones death penalty case has jurors sign media waiver (WDTN Photo/Josh Ames).

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – All 12 jurors and six alternate jurors were asked to sign a pledge stating they would not watch television, read newspapers, read online news articles or consume other forms of media regarding a Dayton death penalty case Friday.

The pledge, orchestrated by the judge in the trial, Judge Steven Dankof, is an unusual move, as many jurors are asked verbally not to consume media during higher-profile cases and it’s left at that.

Opening statements in the Harvey Jones case began Friday. Lawyers for Jones argued the case was a rush to judgment.

“Since that time, law enforcement considered no other suspects, followed no other leads, conducted no additional investigations. It became a matter of building a case against Harvey Jones,” said Defensa Attorney Marshal Lachman.

Prosecutors contended there was a key witness, the victim’s ten-year-old son, who watched the murders.

“That ten-year-old boy watched as the defendant yelled at his mom and Demetrius, and as his mom and Demetrius begged for their lives. He then watched as the defendant shot and killed his mom and Demetrius,” said Prosecutor Erin Claypoole.

Jones is accused of killing 29-year-old Demetrius Beckwith and 32-year-old Carly Hughley in January 2013. Harvey is believed to be Hughley’s ex-boyfriend.

It happened the morning of Jan. 24, 2013 at the Catalpa Crossing Apartments on Turner Road in Harrison Township. Hughley’s then-10-year-old son was in the apartment when the shootings took place and ran to a neighbor’s house to get help.

The now-14-year-old boy is expected to testify, as he was the sole person to witness Harvey pull the trigger, deputies say.

Harvey was initially indicted on charges of murder, kidnapping and robbery charges.

The Jury was sent home for the weekend just before 3:00 Friday afternoon. The trial will begin again Monday at 8;30 a.m.

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