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Sac State Roomate Murderer Quran Jones Reaches Plea Agreement

District Attorney Jan Scully announced today a negotiated settlement in the

prosecution of Quran Jones, a student at California State University, Sacramento, for the murder of his roommate Scott Hawkins.

The disposition involved a “dual plea” – the defendant pled “Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity” to the charge of second degree murder in Scott Hawkins’ death; and Guilty to several charges related to assaults on officers responding to the scene – three counts of attempted murder with use of a weapon, and three counts of brandishing a weapon at a police officer. The agreement includes a stipulated sentence of confinement to a
state mental hospital on the murder charge, and a term of 18 years, four months on the other charges.

The defendant will serve both sentences concurrently.

Detailed Summary and Analysis



In the fall of 2009, Quran Jones and Scott Hawkins were students and roommates in an on-campus dormitory. On October 21, Jones beat Hawkins to death with a baseball bat. When officers responded to the scene, they observed Jones holding a knife to his own face. He refused repeated orders to drop the knife. Officers shot Jones seven times with a pepper-ball gun, but it had not effect. Jones advanced on the officers with the knife
in hand. At that point, for their own protection officers shot Jones with firearms. His wounds left him a paraplegic.

By all accounts, Jones and Hawkins got along as roommates. There was no evidence of animosity or previous altercations between the two, and no motive for the killing was ever developed. The investigation did reveal that Jones had been acting strangely in the days leading up to the homicide.

The preceding evening, Jones was simultaneously playing at least five different songs at high volume on his computer and watching several YouTube videos at the same time. He continued this behavior all night without sleeping.

Officers who confronted him at the crime scene observed bizarre behavior and mannerisms as well. In addition to the fact that he completely ignored their commands, they noted his tongue to be hanging out abnormally and his eyes apparently focused in different directions.

He was observed to strike himself on the head with a baseball bat. A blood sample taken after his arrest revealed no alcohol or drugs. Two court-appointed doctors conducted separate psychiatric evaluations.

They found Jones was suffering from Schizophrenia or Schizoaffective Disorder at the time of the homicide, and that his mental disorder was affecting his mental processes such that he was legally insane at the time of the homicide.

Their opinions were supported by an expert retained by the defense. Jones has no prior criminal record. Under California law, a defendant is legally insane if he was incapable of knowing or understanding the nature and quality of his act, or of distinguishing right from wrong at the time of the commission of the offense.

If the jury finds the defendant was legally insane, he will not be sentenced to prison, regardless of the severity of the crime. Instead, he will first be evaluated to determine whether he is currently insane.

If he has not fully recovered his sanity, the court may confine him to a state hospital or other treatment facility, or place him on outpatient status. After 180 days in a state hospital, the defendant may apply for release on outpatient status, and one year later may apply to be released from that program altogether.

Whether the defendant is released is determined by the court. The defendant is entitled to annual hearings until he is released or returned to confinement in a treatment facility.

This disposition reflects the challenge the prosecution faces in arguing against the insanity finding in light of both the psychiatric evidence, and the absence of any evidence that the defendant had some motive or criminal intent when he killed Scott Hawkins. At the same time, under this disposition, Jones will not be eligible for possible release in 180 days, nor at any time within his state hospital commitment should he be restored to sanity.

Instead, he would be transferred to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to serve the remainder of his sentence in state prison. Thus, the interest of justice is served by ensuring not only that the defendant will be confined in a state psychiatric hospital for treatment, but also that he will not be released back into the community for a lengthy period of time (18 years, four months, less the incarceration time he has served to date).







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