The man accused of murdering Clark Atlanta University student Alexis Crawford appeared in court Friday, where a judge denied his bond.
The couple is charged in Crawford’s Oct. 31 killing, in which they allegedly strangled the 21-year-old, then dumped her body in a park.
The victim was reported missing by relatives Nov. 1 after they hadn’t heard from her in several days. Authorities discovered her remains in a DeKalb County park on Nov. 8.
According to court documents, Crawford and Jones, 21, got into a physical altercation at their off-campus apartment. Brantley also got involved and “choked the victim.” An investigator testified in court Friday that both suspects confessed to roles in the student’s death and coverup of her disappearance.
Jones initially told police that she slept through the night of Oct 30 and awoke on the morning of Oct. 31 and found Crawford gone from their apartment, an investigator said in court Friday. When confronted with video evidence that showed Jones leaving the apartment complex after 3 a.m., Jones would change her story and tell police, “Barron Brantley was inside the house with her and her and Alexis got into a fight and during that fight Barron Brantley came outside of the bedroom and choked Alexis,” the court heard Friday. Police said Jones, with her father present, subsequently led them to Crawford’s body.
Brantley lays equal blame for Crawford’s death at Jones’ feet, saying he intervened in a fight between Jones and Crawford, which would lead to the victim’s death. “He admitted to choking Alexis, Ms. Crawford, and while he was choking Ms. Crawford, Jordyn Jones put a plastic bag over her head,” Det. Michael Young said in court Friday, corroborating an arrest affidavit that alleged Jones smothered the victim with a black trash bag, killing her.
The suspects then placed Crawford in a Rubbermaid plastic bin and drove it to Exchange Park in Decatur, where they discarded her body in the woods, police said. Jones reportedly asked a friend Ayanna Williams (sp) to replace the bin afterward. Williams tipped off police and provided them with screenshots of her text conversation with Jones.
During his testimony, the detective recounted details of the killing told to him by Brantley, who described Crawford’s last moments in shocking detail. The suspect said Crawford eventually stopped breathing after struggling for air, describing the “sounds of agony as she was taking her last breath.”
“While they were concealing the body, it fell out of the plastic bin,” Young said.
After the murder, Jones and Brantley reportedly attended a Halloween party the next day.
A spokesperson for Crawford’s family said Jones was someone Alexis considered a “close friend,” sometimes hosting her roommate at her family’s home for the holidays. However, the girls’ friendship recently hit a rift.
Days before her disappearance, Crawford filed a police report accusing Brantley, Jones’ boyfriend, of sexual assault, including unwanted kissing and touching. She said the three of them had been drinking at the near-campus apartment she shared with Jones when the reported assault occurred.
Crawford told police she blacked out and woke up partially naked with ripped panties.
Prosecutors say Jones took significant steps to hide what had happened. It was she who discovered her roommate in the bathroom, struggling to gain consciousness, with Brantley, who insisted “I didn’t touch her. I didn’t rape her.”
A rape kit proved otherwise.
In a Thursday court appearance, officials confirmed Brantley’s DNA was found inside the victim, adding they had evidence to prove Jones had tried covering her tracks.
“On her own volition the defendant Ms. Jones called family members of Ms. Crawford [and] told them that there was no DNA found in the rape kit,” the prosecutor said. “Well, that is incredibly incorrect.”
Jones was due back in court today but waived her rights to a preliminary hearing. Her next appearance is scheduled for Feb. 10, 2020.