How does a repeat violent offender stay out of jail even after injuring multiple innocent victims on multiple occasions?
Salt Lake City, UT— Rio Grande Street in front of the Weigand center: Six patrol cars and ten officers were on the scene this cold November afternoon after Anderson Jones struck three victims in the head with a hammer. The victims included a 55-year-old man, a 41-year-old woman, and a third 28-year-old man, who were all unsheltered. The victims were waiting out in the cold for a warm meal in front of Saint Vincent’s when Anderson when on his violent rampage. The police were called and Anderson was taken into custody.
It’s becoming increasingly common in Salt Lake City for homeless individuals to be victims of homeless violent offenders. According to Danielle Ahn, who recently ran against Sim Gill for Salt Lake County District Attorney. Perpetrators of violence against homeless individuals are getting off with little or no prison time, or they are being released for drug treatment in lieu of jail time. Ahn says this is because “today some people are below the law.” this is due to a shortage of city prosecutors and a lack of willingness to use the courts to convict homeless criminals to prison time. Offenders, at the bottom, now know well that they can victimize homeless people with impunity and face little to no consequences. We thought we would examine this particular offender’s background by researching the Police Criminal Court database.
A Timeline of an increasingly violent man receiving no prison time
Anderson Jones’ criminal history in Salt Lake City dates back to 2015. Jones’s initial offense was a sexual battery in January 2015, when he grabbed a man’s penis over his clothing in the former Road Home Homeless Shelter. Later that year, he was charged with public intoxication and criminal trespassing, for sleeping in a public park.
2017-Kicking an officer
Jones’ charges remained minor until October 30th, 2017 when he was charged with four counts of criminal misconduct including assaulting a police officer. Jones kicked Officer Wilkes in the knee when he was being questioned for having a glass drug pipe while sleeping in the park. His bail was set for $2,500. Jones’s plea agreement reduced his felony charge to one misdemeanor count for interference. Jones was sentenced to sixty days with credit for time served. Jones was released from the Salt Lake County Jail on February 9th, 2018.
2018- Hitting a man with a slab of concrete & punching two others in the face
In August of 2018, Jones struck Zacharie Witlicki in the head with a slab of concrete out in front of the Salt Lake City Rescue Mission. When Mathew Mesner
and Frank Davis attempted to intervene, Jones struck Mesner and Davis punching the men several times in the face and the neck before fleeing to Pioneer Park. Davis later suffered a seizure after the brutal blow to the head. Three men suffered their injuries and officers responded in Pioneer Park when Jones resisted arrest.
For these charges, Jones was slated to stand trial. But on November 30, 2018, the trial was canceled and all but two felony charges were dropped on a plea agreement before Judge Linda Jones in the Salt Lake County Third District Court.
Based on the three assault charges Jones should have served 3-5 years, but as part of the plea agreement he was able to serve the sentences concurrently and receive credit for time served in the jail preceding the trial. Jones was released serving less than a year for his assaults, again he was released on the streets in early 2019.
2019- Hitting two women with his shopping cart
In January 2019 Jones ignored an officer while he was carrying a drug pipe. All charges were dismissed. In February again Jones ignored an officer, wouldn’t disclose his name, then interfered with an arresting officer. He must have not spent much time in jail because he was charged again in March 2019 with the same crimes: possession of a drug pipe, interference, and failure to disclose identity. Again all charges were dismissed.
Jones wasn’t charged with any crimes until two years later when in April 2022 he committed more assaults. This time Jones hit Stacey Crawford and Maria Sanchez with his shopping cart while calling them “bitch”. He then resisted arrest. Anderson by this time was carrying drug pipes, needles, and “ tooters”.
This time Jones negotiated a plea to be released to Odyssey House for drug treatment, rather than undergo trial which could have led to a conviction. Apparently, Jones didn’t need to remain in Odyssey House long because on May 9th, 2022 he was at it again.
2022- Throwing Rocks at Security Guards
This time Jones started yelling at police and security at the Weigand Center in downtown Salt Lake City. After Jones was ordered by security to leave the premises. Jones then picked up “palm-sized rocks” according to the court report, and began throwing them at the security officer’s heads. Salt Lake City Police Officers had to pursue Jones where they apprehended him at 200 South and 400 West.
Despite the increasing severity of Jones’ actions, according to court documents, on July 5th Jones was again released to Odyssey House for drug treatment.
On August 30th, 2022, court documents indicate that Jones was not in custody. Jones failed to appear for his hearing. Judge Chelsea Koch issued a bench warrant for $10,000.
Jones was taken into custody on Thursday last week Thursday, November 10th, when he assaulted three more people with a hammer, as previously described.
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