74-year-old professor gets 50 years for chopping up 29-year-old wife

A former professor was sentenced Wednesday for the 2012 murder of his ex-wife who he dismembered in Monterey, the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office said today.

Lawrence Jones, 74, was sentenced to fifty years to life in prison for the first-degree murder of Norife “Janie” Herrera Jones, 29, at his Spray Avenue home sometime between Aug. 31 and Sept. 7 of 2012, prosecutors said.

In March, Jones had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and guilty to premeditated murder with a personal use of a firearm, according to prosecutors.

Authorities were first notified of the death on Sept. 7, 2012, when San Benito County sheriff’s deputies learned of a dismembered body along Cannon Road near U.S. Highway 101 later identified as the 29-year-old victim, prosecutors said.

An investigation showed that Lawrence Jones had argued with his estranged wife about a divorce settlement and struck her with a blunt object that left her unconscious on Aug. 31, 2012, prosecutors said.

Lawrence Jones placed her body in her car trunk before Sept. 7, 2012 and spread her body parts on a driveway at Cannon Road, according to prosecutors.

Jones, a professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey at the time, then went to San Diego for a recruitment interview related to the job, prosecutors said.

Police found out the man didn’t return on a flight to Monterey and found him at a Los Angeles hotel with a ticket set to leave on Sept. 15, 2012 for Rio de Janeiro, according to prosecutors.

Police served a search warrant with help from the FBI at Lawrence Jones’ Monterey home, where the shooting and dismemberment took place, according to prosecutors.

The woman’s brother traveled from the Philippines for the sentencing hearing. He read a letter written by her eight siblings, prosecutors said.

The brother called the 29-year-old woman a person who believed in attending school to succeed and told her 21 nieces and nephews to aim for a good education, according to prosecutors.

The woman’s co-workers who spoke at the hearing described her as an angel. One co-worker said, “her death served to remind us that evil is real and sometimes monsters are people very close to you,” according to prosecutors.

Jones still needs to undergo a mental health evaluation through the California Department of State Hospitals and if he is found sane will begin serving his sentence, prosecutors said.