St. Louis man gets 30 years for fatally carjacking friend

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U.S. District Judge Ronnie L. White on Tuesday sentenced a convicted felon who fatally shot his friend before stealing and burning his car to 30 years in prison. 

Judge White also ordered Laveal David Jones to pay $9,074 to his victim’s family for funeral costs.

Early on the morning of Oct. 1, 2022, the victim drove Jones from a nightclub in Sauget, Illinois to an area near the 3000 block of Walton Place in St. Louis. After the victim dropped off a third person, Jones confronted the victim about money Jones believed he was owed, leading to a physical fight. Jones suffered a bloody nose before using the victim’s firearm to shoot the victim twice, his plea agreement says.

Jones left the victim’s body in the street, stripped naked so Jones’ blood couldn’t be recovered from the victim’s clothing. Jones got lighter fluid and then drove the victim’s 2015 Kia K900 sedan to West Missouri Avenue and North B Street in East St. Louis, where he set it on fire and walked away. 

On Oct. 17, 2022, 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. 

Five of the victim’s relatives spoke of the impact of his death during Tuesday’s hearing, including his mother and sister.

The murder occurred less than three months after Jones was released from prison. In October 2016, he stole cash and a 2009 Sonata from a pizza delivery driver by ambushing the driver and repeatedly shocking him with a taser.

Jones, 25, of St. Louis, pleaded guilty in February 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.

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

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