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Played Role in Killing-for-Hire Case : Teen-ager Convicted of Aiding a Murder

April 14, 1985|PAT BRENNAN | Times Staff Writer

POMONA — West Covina teen-ager Beatrice Jones could be sent to a California Youth Authority facility for as much as 16 months and fined $5,000 Thursday, when she is to be sentenced for aiding and abetting a murder.

Jones, 17, was found guilty by Judge Peter S. Smith of the Pomona Superior Court on April 4 for her role in the shotgun slaying of West Covina service station operator Celso Alvarez, who was gunned down outside his home Aug. 22. A deputy district attorney assigned to juvenile cases said Jones could be placed on probation or put in a foster home.

The girl had been released to her mother pending the trial, but she was taken into custody immediately after the verdict was read last Thursday, and transferred to Central Juvenile Hall in Los Angeles to await sentencing.

Jones' mother, Francia Jones, who helped her daughter present her defense in the two-day trial last week, was arrested at the same time in court for failure to appear on an unrelated traffic charge. The elder Jones was being held at Sybil Brand Institute for Women, the Los Angeles County women's jail. Bail was set at $10,000.

Arrested in September

The younger Jones and three adults had been arrested last September after West Covina Police Detective David Shively uncovered what he believed was a plot to kill Alvarez.

Sharon Alvarez, the victim's wife; Donald Eugene Hoyt, 21, her son from an earlier marriage; and Charles Monroe Peterson Jr., 21, were arrested on suspicion of murder. Their Pomona Superior Court trial was continued Monday until June 5 because an attorney representing Peterson was involved in another case.

Police allege that Sharon Alvarez paid Hoyt $1,300 to ambush her husband and that Peterson drove the getaway car.

Beatrice Jones, Shively said, was Hoyt's girlfriend at the time, knew of the murder plans and tried to provide an alibi for Hoyt when she was questioned by police after the killing.

Denied the Charges

Jones had denied the charges in an interview with The Times, saying she hardly knew Hoyt and did not discuss the murder plans with him.

The cornerstone of Jones' defense--that she was a sovereign entity, the legal equivalent of a foreign country, and thus immune from prosecution--reportedly was given no credence by the judge. Because the girl is a juvenile, the trial was closed to the press and public and witnesses and prosecutors declined to discuss it. But during breaks in the proceedings, the younger Jones and her mother said Smith had rejected her premise of sovereign immunity.

Two civil lawsuits filed by Beatrice Jones, her mother and Harold J. Hart, a family friend, are also pending in Pomona Superior Court. The first, filed in February, names 29 individuals, including judges, attorneys and police officers, and asks damages for offenses ranging from trespassing to piracy.

Sued State Bar

The second, filed earlier this month against the State Bar of California, was designed, Hart said, to prevent any judge in the state from hearing Jones' case.

Defendants in both suits have left it up to the court to decide whether the suits are valid. A hearing before Smith on the first suit is set for April 15, and a hearing on the second is set for May 2.

Robert M. Sweet, an attorney on the State Bar's legal staff, said the suit made no sense and did not list a cause of action against the Bar.

The first suit was instrumental in Jones' successful challenge of Pomona Superior Court Judge Carol Fieldhouse and his removal as trial judge in the juvenile trial. Fieldhouse was named as a defendant in the suit. Court officials reassigned the case to Smith.

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