The once youngest convicted murderer will be set free in the upcoming weeks. Curtis Fairchild Jones was just 12 years old when he received an 18-year prison sentence along with accomplice and 13-year-old sister, Catherine Jones.
In Homestead, Florida, 16 years ago, Catherine allegedly concocted a plan to murder her father, her father’s girlfriend and her male relative who was living with them. While initial documents reported the murder was due to jealousy, it was later revealed that sexual assault was the driving motivator, according to USA Today.
Catherine and Curtis were both allegedly sexually abused by the male relative and wanted to avenge him and the people who didn’t stop the abuse, according to Florida Today. Catherine confessed her plot to her brother, Curtis, who agreed to help. They planned to use their father’s 9mm semi-automatic gun.
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“I’m gonna kill everybody” was found in Catherine’s journal.
After the siblings shot their father’s girlfriend, Sonya Nicole Speights, the children ran into the woods. Frightened after the murder, they hid until police found them the following day, January 7, 1999. Charged as adults, the children were threatened with life in prison, reported USA Today.
The siblings have constructed a new life for themselves after experiencing such little contact with the real world for almost 20 years. Thirty-year-old Catherine found love with a pen-pal and is married.Curtis, the youngest person to be charged as an adult of a first-degree murder, has now become an ordained minister.
In a 2009 interview, Catherine describes the murder and sexual abuse. After the conviction, she says her brother and her "were just so happy to be away ... I was safe."