SMITHFIELD – Around 4:00am on the morning of September 9, 1986, an 87 year-old woman was asleep inside her Blount Street home in East Smithfield. She was awakened by a man in her bedroom. The man, concealed by the darkness, threatened to kill her. He then proceeded to violently beat and rape her.
There were no witnesses to the home invasion and rape. The frail, elderly victim could not see her attacker. However, Smithfield Police Detective Rusty Stanley located a fingerprint on the inside of her bedroom window. Combined with blood and semen tests, a neighbor, Frederick Jones of Blount Street, was arrested a month later, in October 1986, for the crime.
Jones underwent a psychological evaluation in December 1986 and was found capable to stand trial.
The initial trial date, in Feb. 1987, had to be delayed one month because of the victim’s poor health. During the trial, the woman was still experiencing blackouts from the beating.
In March 1987, then Assistant District Attorney Dale Stubbs prosecuted Fredrick Jones who was found guilty by a jury of first-degree burglary and second-degree rape following a 5-day trial before Judge J.B. Allen Jr.
Jones, who was 26 when he went on trial, was sentenced to life in prison plus an additional 12 years at the expiration of his life sentence.
During the 1987 trial at the Johnston County Courthouse, prosecutors said the elderly victim lived alone. She was attacked by Jones who entered through a bedroom window. At first, the victim thought she was dreaming and thought the man was her husband who had been dead for several years.
Jones beat the 87 year-old in the face and head, threatened to kill her, and then raped her, according to the testimony.
The fingerprint found on the inside of her bedroom window matched the right little finger of Frederick Jones. Blood and semen tests excluded 92 percent of the male population of possible suspects, Stubbs told The Smithfield Herald at the time. Hair samples and testimony from 14 witnesses, many of them crime lab experts, helped convict Jones.
In the six years leading up to the 1986 home invasion and sexual assault, Jones had convictions for two break-ins, two worthless checks, and single convictions for trespassing, leaving the scene of an accident and assault.
Jones, who was represented by Four Oaks attorney and public defender Phil Shaw, took the stand in his own defense. He claimed he was asleep in his room from 1:30am until 5:30am until he left for work. He lived across the street from the victim in a boarding house.
The state’s current sentencing law, Structured Sentencing, eliminates parole for crimes committed on or after October 1, 1994. However, the Commission has the responsibility of paroling offenders who were sentenced under previous sentencing guidelines.
The NC Post Release Supervision and Parole Commission announced in June, 2021 they were investigating the case for parole.
Johnston County District Attorney Susan Doyle told The Johnston County Report her office is opposed to his release. “The Johnston County District Attorney’s Office opposes the parole of Frederick Jones. That defendant committed a violent and heinous crime against an 87-year-old woman. The victim’s family members need to feel secure that this violent offender who has been convicted of rape and burglary won’t be walking the streets putting others at risk for their safety.”
Jones has been written up for 10 infractions since his 1987 incarceration in state prison for offenses ranging from assault on staff with a weapon, substance possession and disobeying an order. However, there have been no write-ups since 1997.
Frederick Jones is currently 60 years of age and is being housed at Davidson Correctional Center in Lexington, NC. A date for the Commission to make a decision on his possible parole has not been announced.