Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
SALT LAKE CITY — A Price man found dead near a gas field pump in Emery County suffered "serious head trauma" — possibly from being beaten with a baseball bat — and had his ring finger cut off, police say.
On May 2, the body of William Randy Jones, 61, was discovered "on a cutoff road between Mohrland and Hiawatha," according to a statement from the Emery County Sheriff's Office.
On May 6, the sheriff's office announced it was treating the case as a homicide, but released few other details.
According to a search warrant affidavit filed in 7th District Court, Jones had not been seen since April 28. On that day, Jones was staying at a motel in Price when he received a call from a man who said "he was coming over to the motel to pick up William so they could go for a ride and talk."
A friend who was with Jones told him not to go because "she had a bad feeling about him going with (the man) alone," the affidavit states. But Jones assured his friend he and the man "were good."
Jones was last seen driving away with the man and his girlfriend.
An Emery County sheriff's detective and an officer from Adult Probation and Parole went to the girlfriend's house where they found the girlfriend and the man who had called Jones, the warrant states. The man, who was on parole, was given a drug test and failed and was taken into custody, according to police.
The girlfriend then agreed to talk to police and told the officer that the man had hit her in head just before officers arrived and that he also "had broken her arm a few weeks ago and gave her a black eye just the other day," according to the affidavit.
The girlfriend then recounted to investigators that after they left the hotel with Jones on April 28, they went to her house to look at a storage shed. On the way back to Price, they went through the Morland area and she said her boyfriend suggested they go rock hunting.
"When they got out of the car, she walked away from the car to start hunting. A short time later she heard William yelling. She turned around and shined her flashlight toward the direction of the sound. She witnessed (the boyfriend) hitting William with a baseball bat. (She) said (the boyfriend) killed William with the bat and left him lying on the ground," the warrant states.
In a second interview with police, the woman allegedly said her boyfriend "had actually used two different bats when he was hitting William, because the first one broke."
She also said they drove back to Jones' body the next day and the boyfriend "cut the ring finger off of Williams' left hand and took the ring that was on that finger," according to the affidavit.
The girlfriend told police she would hand over evidence from that day.
She also said that the man "used a saw to cut up the second bat at her trailer in the front room. She told us that there are metal shavings in her carpet and in her vacuum," investigators wrote in the warrant.
As of Monday, no one had been arrested or charged in connection with the killing. The boyfriend is in the Utah State Prison for violating the conditions of his parole.
The sheriff's office did not immediately return a call for comment Monday about the status of the case.