Jurors resume deliberations Monday in campground slayings
DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A jury resumes deliberations Monday in the trial of a man charged in the shooting deaths of two Philadelphia men at a Philadelphia-area campground two years ago.
Miles Jones, 42, is charged with criminal homicide reckless endangerment and weapons counts in the October 2019 deaths at Homestead Family Campgrounds in West Rockhill Township. Prosecutors say he and the victims were among 16 friends and relatives on an annual get-together at the campground.
Bucks County prosecutors say an early morning argument began between the suspect and his girlfriend, and he was persuaded to leave to calm down but soon returned with a 9mm handgun and opened fire, killing Eric Braxton and Arthur Hill. Braxton, 41, was a teacher at a Philadelphia charter school and Hill, 46, worked with troubled juveniles in Norristown.
Jones took the stand Wednesday and said he was assaulted and then forced into a car, where he grabbed a gun he had for protection against bears. He said he then tried to leave but was hobbled by a foot injury and when the crowd approached again he used the gun to prevent another assault.
Defense attorney Kenneth Hone asked jurors Friday for an acquittal, saying Jones feared for his life and acted in self-defense.
“In a matter of moments, alone, injured, and outnumbered, Miles Jones had to do something he never wanted to do,” Hone said, adding that his client had no “malice in his heart” and never intended to kill anyone.
Prosecutors, however, have characterized Jones as the aggressor, and Deputy District Attorney Edward Louka called his version of events a “self-serving lie.”
“He killed their family members then taunted them while they were hiding in the woods,” Louka said.
Jurors deliberated for several hours Friday and are to return Monday.