MARION COUNTY, Fla. – A Marion County man who beat his wife to death with a baseball bat and then killed her four children in 2019 is one step closer to receiving the death penalty.
According to records filed Thursday on the Marion County Clerk of Courts website, a jury recommended the death penalty for Michael Jones.
Michael Jones, 41, will now likely face a Spencer hearing, which gives the defendant’s lawyers one more chance to provide evidence that could change the outcome of a sentence.
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Following a Spencer hearing, a judge will decide whether to accept the jury’s recommendation. If the judge does not accept it, Jones would then be given a sentence of life behind bars.
Jones pleaded guilty to five counts of murder in November 2022. His trial went to the penalty phase in the first week of January.
In September 2019, Casei Jones, 32, was reported missing by family members after she and her four children had not been seen for six weeks.
On Sept. 14, Casei Jones’ mother reported that she had not seen her daughter for weeks and she suspected Michael Jones had done something to them.
The family’s home in Summerfield vacant and smelled of decomposition, investigators said.
Deputies said that as they were searching the home, they were contacted by authorities in Georgia, who said Michael Jones was involved in a single-vehicle crash and his wife was dead inside his vehicle. Michael Jones then told investigators where to find the bodies of the children — Cameron Bowers, 10; Preston Bowers, 5; Mercalli Jones, 2; and Aiyana Jones, 1.
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Deputies later determined the woman was beaten to death with a baseball bat. They said Micahel Jones beat the victim to death because he believed she was unfaithful to him. Investigators said he later killed her four children because he was still mad at her and wanted to keep up the illusion that she was still alive.
Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods called the murders “true evil.”
Detectives said they believe Michael Jones stored the bodies at his home and in his van for several weeks before transporting them to Brantley County, Georgia.
No date has been set for Michael Jones’ Spencer Hearing or his sentencing.
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