The two suspects accused of murdering UCSB graduate student Jarrod Davidson must now wait until March 2 to enter their pleas in the case, after their arraignment was postponed Thursday morning due to an attorney’s illness.
The arraignment for Malinda and Philip Jones, Davidson’s former parents-in-law, has been delayed several times since the suspects were arrested in January, primarily to allow time for Philip Jones to find representation. Superior Court Commissioner Edward DeCaro, who is presiding over the case, approved the defense’s request that the arraignment to be held over to allow time for Santa Barbara County Public Defender James Egan, who will be representing defendant Philip Jones, to recover from being sick.
Both defendants are being charged with felony counts of murder with special circumstances and conspiracy to commit murder, and could face a maximum sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole.
Davidson’s parents Richard and Susan were present for Thursday’s hearing, and said they would be attending all court proceedings for the remainder of the case in person.
“We are committed to being here through the entire thing,” Susan Davidson said.
Jarrod Davidson was shot and killed in front of his Goleta apartment shortly after 11 p.m. on July 9, 2004. Soon after, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. released pictures taken from a security camera in the Vons supermarket in the Turnpike Shopping Center to assist in identifying and locating suspects in the case. Malinda Jones was arrested Jan. 7 at her home in Grover Beach, followed by the Jan. 26 arrest of her husband, and both suspects remain in custody without bail.
Richard Davidson said coping with the loss of his son has been extremely difficult for him and his wife, as well as everyone else who was close to Jarrod.
“It’s devastating, and it has impacted our day-to-day lives, our family and his friends,” he said.
While there is nothing that can come close to repairing the damage that was done by his son’s murder, Richard Davidson said, it is vital that he and his wife see that the culprits are held responsible for their crimes.
“It’s extremely important,” he said. “We’ve been deprived of the remainder of our son’s life. We see that justice is a small consolation, but a consolation nonetheless.”
Susan Davidson said the district attorney and police have been secretive about the case thus far, and have not communicated any of their findings to her or her husband.
“We know that it’s an ongoing investigation, and nothing else,” Susan Davidson said.
The repeated setbacks in the case have been a frustration, Richard Davidson said, but he said he and his wife have received counseling and advice through a local chapter of Families of Murder Victims, an organization that provides support for those who have lost family members by homicide.
“They’ve been very helpful in explaining the potential for extended delays,” Richard Davidson said. “While a disappointment, it is not a surprise.”