A former neighbor of accused killer Tieray Jones said she saw Jones carry three large black trash bags to a dumpster in the week Jones reported his step-son missing.
Jones is accused of killing 2-year-old Jahi Turner, or failing to report a fatal accident, in 2002. Prosecutors believe that Jones may have discarded evidence of the boy's death, including possibly his body, in a dumpster.
Katy Higgins lived in Navy housing in Golden Hill in April 2002, the same time Jones was there with Jahi.
The toddler’s mother, Tameka Jones, was away from San Diego on duty with the Navy.
Higgins told the jury the trash bags were full. She said she could see Jones walking down the stairs, from his apartment, and that he also saw her.
“He just looked, and glanced and me, and looked away really quickly, almost like an awkward (kind of) eye contact,” Higgins told the jury.
The testimony is important because prosecutors do not have any direct evidence that Jones killed his stepson.
Jahi’s body was never found, there are no witnesses to the alleged crime, and no confession by the suspect, so prosecutors are building a case based on mainly on circumstantial evidence.
Another witness testified she too saw Jones dumping trash bags; other witnesses have told the jury they never saw Jones together with the little boy up to, and on, the day Jahi disappeared.
But Jahi’s lawyer managed to extract some positive testimony today, from a witness for the prosecution.
Lisa Davies, who was a San Diego police patrol officer when Jones reported Jahi missing from Golden Hill Park, told jurors Jones appeared nervous, high-strung and showed signs of drug use when she questioned him about the Jahi’s alleged disappearance.
She also told jurors about a journal she found inside Jones’s apartment. On cross-examination, defense attorney Courtney Cutter had Davies read several journal entries which Jones wrote to Jahi’s mother.
In more than one of those entries, Jones expresses his affection for Jahi and for his wife and talked about their future together.
“He’s starting to like me a little more,” Jones wrote about Jahi. “He got scared last night, and he called my name. When you get home (from duty with the Navy) we’re going to start getting his room together. I’ve already took (sic) all his clothes and put them up in the closet.”
Jones told police that Jahi disappeared from the park when Jones walked to a vending machine to buy the toddler something to drink.
Jurors also heard from Jahi’s grandparents who helped raise the boy.
Both said Jahi was a timid, somewhat clingy little-boy, who would have cried and tried to follow his step-father if he walked away.