FLAGSTAFF, Arizona (AP) – Connie Jones’ life wasn’t routine. She switched up her commute to work, went to different grocery stores, constantly looked over her shoulder, and took firearms training and defensive driving to protect herself and her son from an ex-husband she said was a maniac.
Authorities have said that man, Dwight Lamon Jones, is responsible for the recent deaths of six people in the Phoenix area, some of whom had links to the Jones’ divorce. Connie Jones said she always feared she’d be the one killed and said on Tuesday she is grateful to be alive.
“I felt that I had a personal terrorist,” she said. “I had someone who was specifically targetting me, someone who had time and nothing else to do but think about how to hurt me. His death, I think, is the best thing to come out of this ordeal.”
Jones said the man she was married to for more than 20 years was likable at first but his behaviour became more erratic and his appearance disheveled. She said he used the courts to further torture her after she filed for divorce in 2009 and after his arrest on a domestic violence charge at their home in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Authorities said Dwight Jones, 56, remained bitter about his divorce years after they split and began confronting people linked to the breakup and shooting them. The shooting deaths happened over four days. Dwight Jones took his own life as police closed in on him at a Scottsdale extended-stay hotel where he lived for several years.
Connie Jones’ current husband and a former police detective, Rick Anglin, first suspected the killings were committed by Dwight Jones. Anglin said he recognised the offices of those who were killed, including two paralegals who worked for the same firm as Connie Jones’ divorce attorney and a forensic psychiatrist who testified in the divorce case, and alerted police.
One paralegal, Veleria Sharp, 48, had worked at the firm for about a year, and the other, Laura Anderson, 49, for 10 years, said the divorce attorney, Elizabeth Feldman. The psychiatrist, Steven Pitt, 59, testified in the divorce case that Dwight Jones had anxiety and mood disorders, and he was at risk of using violence against his wife, child and himself.
Marriage counselor Marshall Levine, 72, was targetted in an apparent case of mistaken identity, authorities said.
Analysis of shell casings found outside Pitt’s office, the law firm and Levine’s office confirmed the victims were killed with the same gun, police said.
Dwight Jones also was linked to the killings of a Fountain Hills couple, Mary Simmons, 70, and Bryon Thomas, 72, who were found dead inside their home. Police said the couple occasionally met up with Jones to play tennis at local parks.
Connie Jones said she didn’t know the couple and didn’t know her ex-husband to have many close friends, if any at all.
Jones, a radiologist, was ordered in the divorce to provide financially for Dwight Jones for a few years. The two met while he was in the Army but she said he had trouble keeping a job over the years. He took the last of the money in 2016.
She got the call about his death while she and Anglin were on vacation, first on a cruise and then at their cabin in northern Arizona. She said a sense of relief swept over her.