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McArthur David Jones was found dead on a porch, and police found a suspect and a gun nearby.
Tron Lemar Seaborn
Friday, March 8, 2013
A Roanoke man faces a second-degree murder charge in a Thursday night shooting that left another man dead.
Police spokeswoman Aisha Johnson said Tron Lemar Seaborn, 33, was arrested shortly after midnight this morning when police officers found him leaving the scene of the shooting. He was discovered at the intersection of Rugby Boulevard and 11th Street, just a stone’s throw away the house where the shot was fired. A gun also was found nearby.
In the 1000 block of Rugby, officers found McArthur David Jones, 33, of Roanoke lying on the front porch of a house. He had been shot, Johnson said.
Police said the two men were acquaintances.
The killing marks the first homicide of the year for Roanoke, a city that has averaged eight during the last five years.
Much about the two men involved in the Thursday shooting remains unclear, as attempts to reach relatives and friends have been unsuccessful. A look through court records across the region did not turn up anything about Seaborn.
Court records did offer a limited perspective of Jones’ life. He was convicted in 2003 and 2005 of possession of cocaine (twice near school property) with intent to distribute. Records show he served lengthy probationary periods since then, as well as two years in prison.
While behind bars in Roanoke City Jail, Jones wrote prolifically, penning letters to judges in an attempt to explain himself and win their compassion.
In neat handwriting on legal pad paper, Jones laid out in some detail the struggles he and his family had faced.
A grandmother stricken with cancer, a mother with heart problems, a 14-year-old son in a group home. He exposed his own insecurities in his letters, too, and admitted he preferred writing to judges because standing before them in the courtroom made him nervous.
In July 2005, just two months after he was last sentenced, Jones pleaded for his release to Circuit Judge Jonathan Apgar. He claimed he needed to be with his grandmother and mother, both of whom were ill.
“These are the two women who are the most dear to me, and I feel it’s time I grew up and stepped up to the plate to help my family,” he wrote. “I was serving my own selfish wants and desires in that I wanted to take the quick and easy way out of debt and responsibility.”
His mother died in the summer of 2011, he later wrote.
Jones’ writing was consistent, lucid and to-the-point, offering insight into his thinking amid the many documents and details within his two thick court files.
He added: “Turns out, the easier way was really the hard way.”
When he was released, Jones stayed out of Roanoke courts for several years. His probation officer, Jennifer Price, mentioned in one note to the court that she considered Jones a “model probationer.” His random drug tests all came back negative; he appeared for scheduled meetings; he was looking for work.
According to court records, he eventually found a job with a Roanoke-based utility construction company, Contracting Enterprises Inc.
There were setbacks. In October 2011, Price wrote to the courts to report that Jones had violated multiple probation requirements. She said he wasn’t living at his stated address and that he’d been found guilty of marijuana possession in Richmond General District Court just a month after a May 2011 revocation hearing.
Jones’ last letter, sent in February 2012, read like a confessional, the plea of a father looking to set himself straight once more.
“I need to get my life together to be there for my son,” he wrote. “I don’t want him to be the way I was when I was his age, and I’m asking you, can you make it possible for me to be the father I need to be for my son. I’m going through a lot.”
It came just a month after he’d written another letter, one in which he brought to Judge William Broadhurst a bargaining chip for forgiveness.
“I’m also willing to work with the Roanoke City Police to get drugs off the streets,” Jones wrote. “I know some individuals that’s selling heroin out here. Please give me a chance.”
Roanoke police have not elaborated on the nature of Jones’ death or what might have sparked gunfire. It remains unclear whether he ever did cooperate with a police investigation.
Court records show Jones moved around Roanoke several times during the last decade, all the while reporting to his probation officer.
And when he did run into trouble, such as a November 2011 night when he was pulled over by an officer and charged with not having a license, he again turned to his letter writing, submitting the platitudes of a man seemingly ever in flux.
“I was changing for the better,” he wrote.
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