In heroin ‘trap house’ killing, video disputes what suspect said, Columbus officer testifies

One of two suspects in last year’s fatal shooting of Stanford Jones told police his codefendant killed Jones before ransacking his duplex apartment at 427 Mellon St. looking for heroin, a detective testified Friday in Columbus Recorder’s Court.

Police Cpl. Zach Cole said that was the story Curtis Williams gave investigators when questioned about Jones’ homicide on Aug. 10, 2018. But discrepancies in his story and surveillance video led police to suspect Williams was in on the scheme to take heroin from the “trap house,” a place where drugs are sold.

Williams, 33, blamed Jones’ slaying on Jeffery Flakes, 29, whose preliminary hearing was postponed until April 26. Only Williams’ case was heard Friday, when he was represented by attorney J. Mark Shelnutt.

A neighbor called police about 6:15 a.m. after finding Jones lying in a puddle of blood in the apartment. He was shot in the right arm, right side of the chest and left side of his face, according to a coroner’s report.

Cole said Jones, 44, had several guns near his body, but none matched either the .40-caliber or .45-caliber shell casings police found in the ransacked apartment.

Though Jones’ body was discovered hours later, nearby residents reported hearing shots around 2:30 a.m., but didn’t report the gunfire because it’s commonly heard in the neighborhood, Cole said.

Police got tips that Williams and Flakes were involved in the homicide, and later found cellphone data that confirmed they were in the area, Cole said. Video footage showed Williams entered the apartment first, wearing gloves and holding a gun, before opening the door for Flakes two or three minutes later, the detective said.

The video, with which someone had tampered, showed Williams allowing Flakes to walk past him, the officer said.

When questioned, Williams claimed he’d gone to there to buy heroin, and only answered the door before Flakes burst in holding a gun in each hand and announcing a robbery, Cole said. Williams alleged Flakes shot Jones, then held Williams against the wall while searching the apartment for heroin, the corporal said.

Cole said Flakes denied being at the apartment that night.

When asked why he was wearing gloves, as depicted on the video, Williams replied that “trap houses are dirty,” the detective said.

Williams and Flakes already were jailed on unrelated cases when police charged them with murder in Jones’ death, officers said.