Jury now deliberating in Lufkin woman's murder trial

Jury now deliberating in Lufkin woman's murder trial
Aspioun Jones (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Aspioun Jones (Source: Angelina County Jail)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - During the second day of the ongoing murder trial for the Lufkin woman charged in death of her husband, Aspioun Le’Erica Jones admitted to stabbing Javoras Durham in the chest in November 2013 and explained to the jury that it was an act of self-defense.

Jones, 24, appeared in Judge Barry Bryan’s 217 Judicial District Courtroom Tuesday.

According to the probable cause documents filed by Lufkin Police Department, Durham and Jones were arguing over several text messages in Jones' phone.

According to a witness who was in the apartment with the two at the time, the argument over the text messages got very heated and physical. The witness said she overheard Jones tell Durham that she wanted to leave, and that's when Durham stood in the doorway. After that, the witness said that Jones went to the kitchen and retrieved a knife.

The witness went on to tell detectives that she turned away for a second, and when she turned back around, Durham was stabbed in the chest area.

The witness then said that after he was stabbed, Durham punched Jones in the face. Even after he was stabbed, Durham was still fighting and trying to gain control, the witness told police.

Jones was the first person to take the stand Tuesday morning. The jurors listened quietly as Jones talked about the rocky relationship she had with Durham. She also talked about Durham’s history of domestic violence.

At this point, it was revealed to the court and jurors that Durham was charged with family violence back in 2006 and served approximately 180 days for the charge. Then in March of 2013 Jones was arrested for assault family violence. As her lawyer worked his way to the day of the stabbing, Jones’ demeanor remained calm.

During her testimony Jones told the court that on the morning of November 25, 2013 the two had started arguing over a couple of text messages. According to Jones the text message read

“I can’t get away like you can … and Silva is not here, so I can’t get away,” Jones said.

Jones further explained that Durham did not like this and thought there was more to it. She went on to say that the two argued in the bedroom, and she tried to leave. However, Durham prevented her from doing so by blocking the doorway.

Durham at this point swung at Jones and missed, and that’s when she swung back. Durham then picked Jones up and slammed her onto the bed. After some time, the fight then escalated to the living room. Jones stated that at one point Durham dragged her off the couch onto their daughter’s bed and started choking her.

“When he was choking me he had his thumbs in my mouth, and as I was choking I bit his thumbs in the process,” Jones said.

Jones then explained that she couldn’t breathe and feared for her life. In fact Jones repeatedly stated through her testimony that she was scared and feared for her life that day.

Jones claimed she went into the kitchen grabbed a knife she saw on the counter in an effort to scare Durham into letting her leave. However, Jones said her attempt backfired.

“It made him more angry,” Jones said. “He got angry and ran towards me. Yes I stabbed him because I was in fear for my life. I had no choice.”

The state then approached Jones and asked her to demonstrate how she stabbed Durham.

Jones placed her left hand over her face, closed her eyes, and took her right hand and made a jab. The one stab struck Durham straight in the heart, which Jones said she was unaware of at the time. Once she saw that her action had harmed Durham she then took the knife and threw it in the sink before she went to render aid.

As her two daughters watched, she told her friend Sylvia Spikes, who was present for the whole incident, to take her children down the street to her friend Ms. Davis’ house. Jones said she then took off Durham’s shirts and tried to perform chest compressions, which she had just learned in a CPR class that she took.

When Spikes returned a couple of minutes later, Jones then rain across the street to get help from her cousin, but he was not home. After several failed attempts to get help, this is when a 911 call was placed.

According to the 911 call, Jones told dispatchers that she had the knife, Durham tried to take it away from her, so she stabbed him. However, that was not how Jones describe the stabbing during Tuesday’s testimony. She admitted to the jury and the state that she lied during the 911 call because she was scared

When emergency personal arrived, Jones said she declined medical assistance despite being badly beaten up because her number one concern was Durham. She said she learned of Durham’s passing from the detective as she was being questioned.

“I still can’t get over that he is gone, and it doesn’t seem real, “Jones said.

While in jail, Jones was treated for cuts and bruises, and she said she has permanent damage.

After an hour of questioning from both sides, Jones stepped down from the stand.

Detective Jared Hennigans for the Lufkin police was the last and final witness. After an hour and a half of testimony, both sides closed.

During the closing arguments, prosecutor Elmer Beckworth argued that Jones lied in numerous different accounts of what happened the day Durham died. He also argued that Jones was calculating in her actions because she knew what she did was wrong and that she could go to jail.

In his closing arguments, John Tunnel, Jones' defense attorney, stated that his client's actions were justifiable because the abuse she experienced that day could have resulted in her death if she hadn't acted to defend herself.

In his rebuttal, Beckworth countered that despite the couple's history of domestic violence and the events of that day, there was no need fir Jones to use lethal force to defend herself.

The jury is now faced with the task of deciding whether or not Jones is guilty. If convicted, Jones is facing a charge of murder, manslaughter, or criminal negligent homicide with prison time ranging anywhere from two years to life.

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