Jury selection began Monday in the Hard 50 murder trial of one of three men charged with injecting a Wichita man with a lethal dose of meth and dumping his body in a field near K-96 and Hillside.
Jason Jones, 38, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Shawn Lindsey, 34, whose body was found Jan. 16, 2013, by surveyors. Justin Jones, 38, and Dang Sean, 35, also are charged in Lindsey’s death and are awaiting trial.
At a preliminary hearing in March, a witness testified that Sean and the Joneses melted 1/4 ounce of meth and injected it into Lindsey’s arm while holding him captive in an auto repair shop at 118 S. Vine. Prosecutors said Lindsey was killed to settle a debt that may have involved illegal drug transactions. They contend that the crime was committed in an especially heinous, atrocious or cruel manner.
The case will be tried under a Hard 50 law that was rewritten by the Kansas Legislature in September to comply with a June U.S. Supreme Court ruling. That ruling said that juries, not judges, must determine whether there are factors in a criminal case that call for increasing a defendant’s minimum prison sentence.
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If Jason Jones is convicted of first-degree murder, a penalty phase of the trial will be held in which the jury will be asked whether there are aggravating factors in the case. Under the law, if a jury finds there are aggravating factors in a murder case that are not outweighed by mitigating factors, a Hard 50 sentence can be imposed. A standard pre-meditated first-degree murder conviction carries a sentence of life without parole for 25 years.
District Judge Bruce Brown is presiding at the trial.