A Kansas man has been sentenced to life in prison for the killing of his 7-year-old son, whose remains were found in the family's pig sty after what authorities described as systematic abuse.
Forty-six-year-old Michael Jones declined the judge's offer to address the court during his Wyandotte County sentencing hearing Monday related to the 2015 death of Adrian Jones. He also sat with his back to the court as family members read their victim statements.
Adrian's grandmother, Judy Conway, tried making eye contact with the man who killed her grandson. She referred to Jones as having no remorse. Conway said she wants Adrian's story to help save other children.
"We want him to continue living on although he's not physically in this world," Conway said. "If I continue to do whatever I can to make sure no other child suffers the way that Adrian did, if we can continue to do something in his name, that's what we want."
Kansas City, Kansas Police Detective Stuart Littlefield also delivered a statement to the court.
"The abuse and torture was 24 hours a day for him [Adrian]. They didn't stop when they slept. They didn't let him sleep," Littlefield said. "He was left to rot in a shower that ultimately became his coffin...and when his parents could no loner stand the stench, what was left of his little body was fed to pigs."
Littlefield spoke on behalf of fallen officer Det. Brad Lancaster.
Lancaster was the lead detective on Adrian's case. Littlefield said his fallen colleague worked countless hours seeking justice for Adrian. The case, so horrific, it still haunts the department, said Littlefield.
"Sometimes I find myself looking at random houses wondering if another little Adrian is trapped behind a door...because there were people that saw the marks on his body and said nothing," Littlefield said.
Adrian's stepmother pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in November and is serving a life term.
Authorities say Adrian died in September or October 2015, but his death wasn't reported. His remains were found in November 2015 after authorities responding to a domestic disturbance learned he was missing.
Officials say parole is possible for Michael Jones in 25 years.
Read Littlefield's full statement below:
"I would like to start by saying that I am making this statement in memory of Adrian and in the honor of Det. Brad Lancaster. Brad put everything into this case, but he was murdered before he could see it through. Brad was Adrian’s champion.
But Adrian is gone – murdered by the 2 people who were supposed to love and protect him.
Det. Mark Bundy and I finished this case for Brad. Brad should be standing here reading this, not me.
I cannot describe how deeply this case has affected everyone who has worked on it. From the CSI technicians who helped us find his remains, to the women who were forced to transcribe the awful details of his tortured young life.
Mark and I have been police officers for over 20 years and have seen more tragedies than we can describe. But nothing could have prepared us for what we saw on November 25, 2015.
The abuse and torture of this little boy was only compounded by the fact that Mike and Heather Jones systematically documented and photographed every sadistic thing they did to him.
Nothing impacted me more deeply than when Mike admitted that Heather would taze Adrian for 15-20 seconds. When the word seconds is used, it implies a short duration of time. So I am going to pause for 20 seconds and I want you to imagine the screams of a 7-year-old boy.
Twenty seconds is a very long time when you’re in agony.
In closing, all that Mark and I ask is that, 25 years from now, when Mike and Heather Jones are available for parole, you remember a 7-year-old boy named Adrian Jones.
I have asked seasoned law enforcement officers if they remember Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dahmer. Of course, they all replied “yes.” But when I asked them if they remembered at least one of their victims, they all answered “no.”
The problem with society, we remember the criminals, but not their victims.
I am begging you, please remember Adrian.
He was 7 years old.
He was tortured and beaten and starved to death.
He was left to rot in a shower that ultimately became his coffin.
And when his parents could no longer stand the stench – what was left of his little body was fed to pigs.
Sometimes I find myself looking at random houses – wondering if another Adrian is trapped behind the door, because there were people who saw the marks on his body and said nothing.
Adrian is gone. We can’t change what happened and we can’t bring him back. But we can change the future. There are children being abused right now. As I am speaking to you, there is another Adrian somewhere, waiting for someone to come through the door and rescue him.
We must find these children – for Adrian and for Brad."