Exactly seven months after UCSB graduate student Jarrod Davidson was shot and killed on July 9, 2004, the two suspects arrested in connection with his murder will decide at their arraignment this morning whether to fight the charges filed against them.
Malinda Jones, Davidson’s 49-year-old former mother-in-law, was taken into police custody Jan. 7 at her home in Grover Beach. Less than three weeks later, on Jan. 26, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. deputies arrested her husband, 50-year-old Philip Jones. Senior Deputy District Attorney Darryl Perlin said both suspects, who are currently being held without bail, face two felony charges apiece and will be tried together for the remainder of the case.
Robert Landheer, the attorney who will represent Malinda Jones in the case, said he expects both defendants to plead not guilty at the arraignment.
The arraignment has been postponed multiple times since the case began, partly due to the large amount of information produced by police investigations during the seven months that have elapsed since the crime occurred.
“We’ve had to read through almost 2,000 pages of discoveries, and there’s still more coming,” Landheer said. “That’s a substantial amount of information for us to absorb.”
Landheer said there has been some public speculation thus far as to how the crime might have occurred, and he said such speculation has the potential to bias a case against the defendants before they have a chance to defend themselves.
“Just because the district attorney and law enforcement have a theory, it doesn’t mean that theory is correct,” Landheer said. “Just because [the defendants] are being charged with this crime – and it is a horrible crime – doesn’t mean that they are guilty.”
Landheer said he wanted to stress that the case is just beginning and that everything is still just conjecture at present.
“Nothing has been proven at this point,” Landheer said. “It’s absolutely wide open.”