GONZALES — A state district judge found a Prairieville man guilty Tuesday of abducting his estranged wife and driving her against her will to Lake Charles last year but acquitted him of kidnapping the woman's then 2-year-old grandson, prosecutors said.
The disappearance of Mary Jones, an acquaintance of Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley, and her grandson, Denim Bureau, on Sept. 19, 2015, prompted an Amber Alert from Louisiana State Police after Jones didn't arrive with the toddler at a family member's home that Saturday morning.
Authorities found Mary Jones, Bureau and her estranged husband, Troy Jones, hours later in Calcasieu Parish in Mary Jones' car, prosecutors in Ascension said Tuesday. After a brief vehicle and foot chase, Calcasieu sheriff's deputies caught Troy Jones, who was driving the car.
Following a one-day bench trial Tuesday at the Parish Courthouse Annex in Gonzales, Judge Thomas Kliebert Jr. of the 23rd Judicial District Court found Troy Jones, 49, guilty of second-degree kidnapping and aggravated battery of Mary Jones but acquitted him of second-degree kidnapping of Bureau, prosecutors said.
Troy Jones, 38466 La. 42, had waived his right to a jury trial.
After closing arguments but before Kliebert rendered his verdict, prosecutors dropped an armed robbery charge also brought against Troy Jones over allegations he took Mary Jones' car with the threat of a weapon.
Prosecutors in Ascension had accused Troy Jones of coming out from behind an abandoned vehicle near Mary Jones' home the morning of Sept. 19, 2015, as she was getting in her car with her grandson. Troy Jones stabbed her with a "shank-like" object — causing minor cuts — and told her and the toddler to get in her car, prosecutors with the 23rd Judicial District said in a statement.
About three weeks before the abduction, Troy Jones was arrested on a count of domestic abuse battery against Mary Jones, a charge that is still pending.
Troy Jones drove Mary Jones and the toddler across the state to Lake Charles, making stops along the way but not allowing Mary Jones to leave his sight, prosecutors said.
Last month, Troy Jones' defense attorney filed a signed statement from Mary Jones saying she no longer wished to pursue Troy Jones' prosecution but ended up testifying Tuesday at trial.
Kliebert deferred Troy Jones' sentencing to Feb. 14.
Jones faces up to 50 years in prison, but prosecutors said in a statement that they also plan to bill Troy Jones as a habitual offender, potentially lengthening his sentence further. He has previous felony convictions, including second-degree kidnapping and armed robbery, prosecutors said.
David Capasso, Troy Jones's defense attorney, couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday evening.