Man gets 2 consecutive life terms without parole in slayings
DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A man convicted of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of two men at a Philadelphia-area campground two years ago was sentenced to two consecutive life terms without possibility of parole.
Jurors in Bucks County deliberated for about seven hours last week before convicting Miles Jones of two first-degree murder counts in the October 2019 deaths at Homestead Family Campgrounds in West Rockhill Township.
Jones, 42, was also convicted of weapons offenses and more than a dozen counts of recklessly endangering another person, one for each other person present at the annual gathering of friends and relatives at the campground.
Prosecutors said an early morning argument began between Jones and his girlfriend, and he was persuaded to leave to calm down but returned with a 9mm handgun and shot Eric Braxton and Arthur Hill. Braxton, 41, was a teacher at a Philadelphia charter school and Hill, 46, worked with troubled juveniles in Norristown.
Common Pleas Judge Diane Gibbons imposed the life terms on the murder convictions Thursday and also sentenced Jones to maximum terms on the other counts of which he was convicted, the Bucks County Courier Times reported.
She criticized the defendant’s self-defense assertion during trial, calling it a “lie” and saying both victims had good intentions the night they were killed.
“They acted immediately to help, and it cost them their lives,” Gibbons said.
She added, “This defendant took each man’s life, and then came to court two years later and tried to take their character.”
Gibbons also said Jones, who declined to address the court, had shown no compassion or remorse for the slayings.
“It amazes me, after all this time, after all these years, you have absolutely nothing to say to them,” Gibbons said.
Jones had faced the possibility of capital punishment, but prosecutors said they decided against that after talking to the victims’ families.