A Tacoma man who initially told police he didn’t know how a dismembered body got in his bedroom was charged with murder today in Pierce County Superior Court.
John Jones, 27, pleaded not guilty today to the first-degree murder charge.
Pierce County Court Commissioner Meagan Foley set Jones’ bail at $1 million.
Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said police were alerted last Wednesday by Jones’ mother, who had smelled a foul odor coming from her son’s bedroom in their home in the 2300 block of Tacoma Avenue South. Police found the dismembered body of 54-year-old Wayne Williams lying atop a mattress.
Williams’ legs and head had been severed with a handsaw. They were discovered in separate bags in the bedroom. Williams’ shoes and socks were still on the severed legs.
The Pierce County medical examiner said his autopsy found that Williams had died from manual strangulation. Williams’ body had suffered numerous defensive puncture wounds on his hands and head as if he had fought off his attacker before he died, charging documents contended.
Jones told detectives that he awoke from a drug-induced stupor to find Williams dead in his room. The two had been doing drugs together, he said.
The defendant then claimed that Williams might have died at the hands of drug dealers or gangs to whom he owed money. Tacoma police said they found no evidence that others were involved. No outsiders had access to the bedroom.
The medical examiner pinpointed the death occurring sometime March 18 or 19. Lindquist said that same report said that sawing off the legs and head with a hand saw probably took several hours.
The prosecutor said Jones has a relatively clean prior criminal record. The defendant lived in the home with his mother, his younger brother and his uncle. They have cooperated with investigators in the inquiry.
The prosecutor said he didn’t know what drugs the two were using before the murder.
Jones was arrested late last week and held in the Pierce County Jail while detectives completed their investigation.