Divorces are some of the most difficult matters for individuals to get through and often cause the parties involved to suffer from stress, anxiety, and even depression. The truth is, some divorces leave many feeling uneasy and resentful of the other party, especially when they aren’t satisfied with the outcome of the case. Sometimes, individuals act on these feelings of anger and unhappiness they experience during and even after a divorce which leads to them engaging in inappropriate and even illegal behavior.
This is what officials believe happened with 56-year-old Dwight Jones of Arizona after he decided to engage in a killing spree, targeting individuals who were tied to his ex-wife or played a role in his divorce. Here’s what we know about Jones and the possible reasons for killing each of the six individuals he targeted.
Jones and his ex-wife Connie Phillips initially filed for divorce in 2009. During this same year, Jones was charged with misdemeanor assault, threats, intimidation, and disorderly conduct. He plead guilty to the disorderly conduct charge, says the NY Daily News. But the problems didn’t stop there for the Jones’. Apparently, the two struggled with alimony and child custody which prolonged finalizing their divorce for some time. The Washington Post stated that their dispute hadn’t settled until 2017, nearly eight years after they filed the paperwork for their divorce and their son had reached the age of emancipation.
Despite the couple finally coming to an agreement just last year, it appears Jones was holding onto a grudge against those who had played a role in his divorce or had some relation to his ex-wife. And he was willing to go to great lengths to show these individuals that he wasn’t willing to let go of it. Jones uploaded videos on YouTube “outlining what he saw as a conspiracy by his ex-wife, psychiatrists, lawyers and the Maricopa County judicial system to rig a divorce case and steal custody of his son.” In one of the videos, he “insisted his wife had abused their son and had multiple affairs, yet she was the one attempting to make him look violent and paranoid so she could have full custody of their child,” according to AZ Central.
Jones wasn’t having it. After spending the past nine years living in Extended Stay hotel rooms, Jones sought revenge against anyone who had something to do with his “rigged divorce case.”
Jones began the killing spree with Steven Pitt, a 59-year-old forensic psychiatrist who had been hired by his ex-wife’s attorney to “complete a psychiatric assessment of Jones in 2009.” After he completed the assessment, Jones stated in a video that Pitt made him out to be a “mentally unstable man.” Jones shot Pitt outside his office nearby to Scottsdale. He was known for working on the high-profile murder case involving child beauty-pageant star JonBenét Ramsey.
Jones moved on to the next location which was the law firm where his wife’s former attorney, Elizabeth Feldman, worked. When he arrived, there were only two female paralegals who worked for Feldman still there, and Jones shot both of them dead. They were identified as Valeria Sharp and Laura Anderson. That same day, he visited the office of Marshall Levine. He was a life coach, psychologist, and hypnotherapist who although had no involvement in the divorce case, shared his office space with a counselor whom Jones’ son was required to see.
The last two victims were a man and a woman who were shot dead in a home in Fountain Hills. Although police aren’t sure why Jones targeted these two, they believe they may have had some connection to his “contentious divorce case” or they “were at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
While detectives worked to identify the man behind these murders, Connie Phillips says it was her current husband who figured it out.
He is a retired police detective and managed to make the connection with the people being killed to Dwight Jones and notified Phoenix and Scottsdale police. When officials tracked Jones down and prepared to close in on him, he shot himself to death in an Extended Stay America hotel near Shea Boulevard and Scottsdale Road.
After the killing spree ended, Jones’ ex-wife issued a statement saying “He was a very emotionally disturbed person, as the court records will confirm. Personally, I have feared for my safety for the past nine years. I cannot express the emotions I feel for the innocent families touched by this.”
As mentioned, divorces can be some of the hardest obstacles to overcome, especially when children are involved. That is why anyone going through a divorce is encouraged to hire a divorce attorney to protect their interests throughout the duration of the case and to ensure one party isn’t awarded more than they are warranted. Yuma, AZ divorce lawyers also help separating couples resolve their disputes so that each can go on and live their lives. So, if you are going through a divorce in Arizona and are considering hiring an attorney, contact Schneider & Onofry, P.C. at 928-257-4887.
You can also visit Schneider & Onofry, P.C. at:
6024 E. 32ndStreet
Yuma, AZ 85365