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Life without parole for killer in Melissa cold case

Mitchell Conrad Jones, 36, of Kenner, Louisiana, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for Capital Murder, announced Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis. "Police and prosecutors never forget a victim, even from a cold case. Their relentless efforts brought a murderer to justice and brings some solace to the family," added Willis.

On July 20, 2009, Jones and two accomplices lured the victim to a house in Dallas. Once at the house, Jones attacked the victim from behind and dragged him into a darkened garage. Jones then strangled the victim to death with a cord. Jones and the accomplices searched the victim's body and car for money or other valuables, and stole his car radio.

After the murder, Jones loaded the victim's body into the trunk of the victim's car.  He and the accomplices then drove from Dallas up to Melissa. They parked the victim's car in an abandoned parking lot and left the car there with the victim's body in the trunk. Melissa Police Department discovered the victim's body seven days later. 

After nearly a year of investigation, the case went cold. Nine years later, the murder case was re-opened by the Melissa Police Department, the Texas Rangers, and the Collin County District Attorney. After a cold case review with prosecutors, Texas Ranger Reuben Mankin and Melissa Detective Brian Kile ultimately discovered new evidence which led to the arrest of Mitchell Jones, Stacy Johnson, and Jasmine Salaz. The cases against Johnson and Salaz are still pending.

The jury found Jones guilty of Capital Murder. Judge Ray Wheless presided over the trial and assessed the automatic punishment of life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

Assistant District Attorneys Ashley Keil and Ashley Briggs prosecuted the case, assisted by District Attorney Investigator Stephanie Strickland and District Attorney Victim Assistance Coordinator Jayshree Bihari.