Son testifies in father's trial, about mother's death

By Jason A. Smith


In an unusual occurrence, testimony in Henry County Superior Court was highlighted Thursday by a father on trial for murder, cross-examining his own son.

Changa Ola Jones, Sr., 38, is on trial for the third time in connection with the slaying of his wife, Natasha Monique Brown Jones, whose body was found in her Carlsbad Cove home on Oct. 24, 2005. She had reportedly been strangled. The two previous trials -- in 2008 and last year -- ended in mistrials.

Change Jones, who is acting as his own attorney this time around, leveled several challenges at his 12-year-old son's testimony concerning the circumstances surrounding his mother's (Natasha Jones') death.

The boy testified that his mother was "sad and crying" on the night before her body was found, and he said he spoke with his father by phone that night. The boy, who was 8 years old at the time of the killing, told the court, during cross-examination Thursday, that his father was planning to take him from his mother.

"You never told me where I was going," the boy testified. "You just said you were coming to get me."

Jones then asked his son why he did not tell him his mother had spent time with another man, Robert Swain. "It wasn't like a secret," the child replied. "You never asked me."

The boy, who has only seen his father in court since his mother's death, said neither the victim, nor any members of her family, instructed him not to tell Changa Jones about Swain.

The child declared that, on the night before the victim's body was found, he heard the garage door of his home opening directly below his room, and, then, a door slam in the hallway of the house. He testified that he heard his mother arguing with a man he believed to be his father.

Jones has maintained that he was in Florida at the time of his wife's death. He asked his son why the boy did not immediately tell anyone about the argument, suggesting that the child could have been mistaken in his recollection of a male voice arguing with his mother.

"It couldn't have been anyone," said the boy. "It sounded like a man's voice."

The child's former baby-sitter, Joya Smarr, also testified for the prosecution. She said Changa Jones called his wife on the day before her death, and that she heard him say, "I'm gonna get you."

Smarr conceded that she met Changa Jones only a few times, but was certain she heard his voice on the phone.

The prosecution is expected to continue its case today, with testimony from Natasha Jones' mother, as well as from Robert Swain.