A 50-year-old Minnesota man was sentenced to 27 years in prison for setting fire to the mother of his three children as she lay unconscious on a couch from an overdose.
Charles James Jones, of Ponsford, Minn., was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in St. Paul for killing Shalonda Clark, 35, on Dec. 30, 2013, by draping a burning blanket over her.
Jones told neighbors near the home on the southeastern edge of the White Earth Indian Reservation that he didn’t know how the fire started, according to prosecutors. Clark was the mother of their children, ages 14, 12 and 5.
When questioned by police, Jones told investigators that Clark was “wicked” and he was fed up with her cruelty toward him. A jury convicted him in March of second-degree murder after a seven-day trial.
Jones’ “actions were … cowardly and cruel because he waited to kill Clark at a moment of defenselessness and vulnerability,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing. “[Jones] did not cry. He did not express remorse.”
Jones had abused Clark since 1999, according to prosecutors.