Pedro Jones Jr., 22, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder
for the death of Roy Antonio Jones III, 17 months. In return for the plea, Suffolk County Court Judge James Hudson agreed to sentence him to 16 years to life
in prison. Also, prosecutors agreed to take no position when Jones appears before a parole board in 2026.
In court and on the video, Jones said he punched the boy, who is no relation, three times in the chest with a closed fist
on Aug. 1, 2010. As he entered the plea, tears rolled down the defendant's father's cheeks.
In the video, Jones said he had been caring for the boy all day while his mother, Vanessa Collins Jones, worked. The boy started crying when she came home and then left to visit a cousin on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation shortly afterward, Jones said, so he hit the boy to quiet him.
During the confession, Jones said he beat the boy numerous times to get him to stop crying
. State Police Investigator Thomas Hughes testified during the hearing that the boy's body was covered in bruises
"My client wanted to accept responsibility for this," said Jones' attorney, William Ferris of Islandia. "He loved Roy, and he certainly didn't mean to cause his death. . . . It was an error in judgment.
Both Ferris and Jones' father said afterward that Vanessa Jones also beat the child and should have been charged.
"She bears most of the responsibility," said Pedro Jones Sr. "There were bruises on that boy before my son ever met her."
"Vanessa should have been on that indictment," Ferris said.
Her family members tearfully declined to comment, but Assistant District Attorney Raphael Pearl said there was no basis for the claim.
"The investigation by this office, State Police investigators and Suffolk County Child Protective Services found no evidence these allegations are accurate," he said. He added that nowhere in Jones' written and videotaped confessions did he "cite an instance remotely similar to these 11th-hour allegations."
In the video, Jones said Vanessa Jones scolded him for punching her son and told him he should limit himself to smacking him on the bottom if necessary.