St. Louis man admits fatally shooting driver and burning stolen car

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A man from St. Louis, Missouri on Tuesday admitted fatally shooting his friend before stealing his car in 2022. 

Laveal David Jones, 25, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in St. Louis to three felony counts: carjacking resulting in death, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, with death resulting.

After leaving a nightclub in Sauget, Illinois just after 4 a.m. on Oct. 1, 2022, the shooting victim drove Jones to an area near the 300 block of Walton Place in St. Louis. Jones confronted the victim about money Jones believed the victim owed, leading to a physical fight. Jones suffered a bloody nose. Jones admitted in his plea that he used the victim’s firearm to shoot the victim twice, killing him.

Jones then stripped the victim naked so the blood from Jones’ bloody nose couldn’t be recovered from the victim’s clothing. He left the victim’s body in the street, then drove away in the victim’s 2015 Kia K900 sedan. Jones got lighter fluid and drove the Kia to West Missouri Avenue and North B Street in East St. Louis, Illinois. He set the car on fire and walked away. An acquaintance picked Jones up in East St. Louis. Jones was still wearing bloody clothing.

On Oct. 17, 2022, while the shooting death was still under investigation, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department officers spotted Jones in a different stolen Kia. He crashed the car and then fled on foot, discarding a pistol before he was caught, his plea agreement says. 

Jones was a convicted felon at the time of the crimes, having been convicted of second-degree robbery, and was thus barred from possessing a firearm. 

Jones is scheduled to be sentenced May 7. The U.S. Attorney’s office has agreed to recommend a prison term not to exceed 30 years. Jones’s lawyer has agreed to recommend not less than 20 years.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the FBI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Finlen is prosecuting the case.

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