Lawyers say Waukegan woman’s confession of boy’s death ‘illegal’
By Beth Kramer firstname.lastname@example.org January 7, 2013 8:30PM
Yolanda L. Jones
Updated: February 9, 2013 6:15AM
Police started questioning a Waukegan woman about the death of a 5-year-old boy when she was a patient at the hospital about to give birth to her sixth child.
The questioning resumed after Yolanda Jones gave birth. Detectives denied Jones the ability to fill her prescriptions and persisted in questioning her, eventually gaining a confession, according to defense attorneys LaTonya Burton and Jeffery Facklam.
Burton and Facklam call the September 2010 interrogation “illegal” and assert that their client was unable to understand her Miranda rights.
“Ms. Jones’ will was overcome by the need of medication during the entire time of her custodial arrest and interrogation, therefore, her confession was not voluntarily made,” they wrote in a motion filed in Lake County Circuit Court seeking to bar the confession from Jones’ upcoming trial.
A hearing was scheduled Monday to address the confession, but attorneys rescheduled it for Jan. 25.
Jones, 37, faces six counts of first-degree murder for the 2010 Labor Day murder of Tommy Davis III.
Police said the 5-year-old boy was the biological son of a man who was dating Jones. The boy’s father has three children with Jones, including the one that Jones gave birth to the same day the 5-year-old boy was killed, authorities said.
Police said Jones was caring for six children in total while staying at the Sheridan Motel in Zion on Labor Day 2010. Authorities said Jones said she snapped and beat the young boy for a period of two days.
The boy had extensive bruising from the top of his head to his knees from being hit with a belt and having his head banged off a bathtub and floor, police said.
Jones brought the boy to Cancer Treatment Centers of America hospital in Zion and then went into labor herself.
She ultimately gave police both a written and verbal confession. Burton and Facklam want both the confessions kept from being entered as evidence during the trial.
Jones complained about back pain and post-partum ailments during the interrogation, her attorneys allege. They further allege police never gave her the opportunity to fill medications for her pain. Jones made repeated complaints about feeling sick and having pain throughout the interrogation, her attorneys allege in court documents.
Jones’ full scale IQ is a “mere 66,” according to clinical psychologist Michael Gelbort, Burton and Facklam wrote in their motion. Gelbort reports that Jones’ IQ is in the mildly mentally defective range of functioning, the court document states.
“It was determined that Yolanda Jones did not have an understanding of the Miranda warning such that she could knowingly and intelligently waive her right,” Burton and Facklam wrote in their motion.
Jones is in custody at Lake County Jail in lieu of $3 million bond.