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Inmate on SC’s death row for 37 years dies of natural causes

August 22, 2021 GMT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — An inmate who had been on South Carolina’s death row for more than 37 years for killing a man he once worked for and raping his wife died Saturday from a stroke, authorities said.

Donald Allen Jones, 60, had been in the hospital since Wednesday, the state Department of Corrections said in a statement announcing his death.

Jones was convicted for the 1983 death of a dairy owner in Lancaster County he briefly worked for as a teenager.

Jones broke into the man’s home, killed his dogs, then when he arrived home, Jones demanded money and shot him in the chest in front of his wife, investigators said.

Jones then shot the man twice more in the head after he groaned, according to testimony at his trial.

Jones raped the victim’s wife and tied her to chairs around the home as he searched for more money, police said,

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The woman eventually escaped after Jones tied her up and gagged her, hiding behind a fence when Jones returned to the home and started looking for her, authorities said.

Jones was the second-longest serving inmate on the state’s death row. Fred Singleton, 77, has been on death row five months longer for the 1982 rape and killing of a 73-year-old Newberry County woman.

Thirty-five inmates remain on South Carolina’s death row after Jones’ death.