Elwood Jones was sentenced to death by the State of Ohio for the murder of a woman. According to court documents Elwood Jones would beat to death Rhoda Nathan at a hotel she was staying at. Elwood Jones would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death.
Elwood Jones 2021 Information
Gender Male Race Black
Admission Date 01/10/1997
Institution Chillicothe Correctional Institution
Elwood Jones More News
During the early afternoon of Friday, September 2, 1994, Elaine Schub and Joe Kaplan checked in as guests at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Blue Ash. Schub was in town to see her grandson’s bar mitzvah, which was to be held the following day. Schub’s best friend, Rhoda Nathan, flew in from New Jersey later that afternoon also to attend the event on Saturday. Schub and Nathan shared the bedroom of the hotel suite, while Kaplan stayed in the front room using a foldout bed.
On Saturday morning, September 3, Schub and Kaplan awoke early to meet relatives at the complimentary breakfast served on the first floor of the hotel. As she and Kaplan left the room at approximately 7:28 a.m., Schub told Nathan to go back to sleep, since she did not need to be at the temple that morning as early as the family. Kaplan had the only room key for the group and made sure the door was locked when he and Schub left for breakfast.
At approximately 8:08 a.m., Schub and Kaplan finished breakfast and returned upstairs to their room. Kaplan unlocked the door and discovered Nathan lying nude on the floor. Employees and hotel guests rushed up to Room 237, where Schub was found screaming and shaking. A cardiologist, a respiratory therapist, and a nurse happened to be at the hotel at the time, and they came to the room to help resuscitate Nathan.
Initially, witnesses thought Nathan had had a fall, perhaps brought on by a heart attack, since there seemed to be little blood on or around Nathan. However, further investigation revealed that Nathan’s hair was soaked with blood and that she had suffered severe trauma to her head. When Nathan’s head was moved, witnesses found a tooth on the floor. Later, Schub asked for and was given her purse, which she had left in the hotel room during breakfast. Upon opening her wallet, which was inside the purse, Schub noticed that money was missing.
During the commotion, Schub noticed that Nathan no longer had the pendant necklace that she had been wearing earlier and that she always wore. The pendant was a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry that Nathan’s late husband had made from his mother’s wedding band. It consisted of several connected gold bars, one containing diamonds. According to Nathan’s daughter-in-law, Nathan never took the pendant off. Nathan died that afternoon as a result of multiple traumas to her head and body. The coroner’s office determined that the death was a homicide.
Police quickly set up a command center in a banquet room on the second floor near the murder scene in Room 237. Police canvassed the rooms at the hotel and took statements from guests and hotel employees working that day. Police then began to concentrate their investigation on three particular hotel employees who had prior criminal histories. Police cleared two of the employees through further investigation and narrowed their investigation to defendant-appellant, Elwood “Butch” Jones. Police discovered from interviews with other hotel employees that appellant had injured his hand on the day Nathan was killed. This fact pointed to appellant as a suspect because the crime at the hotel involved a violent assault. Appellant had filed a claim for workers’ compensation for medical benefits. The police thereafter subpoenaed and received the medical records for the treatment of appellant’s hand injury.
On September 12, 1994, Sgt. Robert Lilley of the Blue Ash Police Department spoke with one of appellant’s treating physicians, Dr. John McDonough. Lilley learned through another police investigator that Dr. McDonough had classified appellant’s injury as a fist-to-mouth injury and that Dr. McDonough had asked appellant if he received the injury by punching someone in the mouth. That same day, police went to the residence of Earlene Metcalfe in Loveland. Metcalfe worked at the hotel and was a girlfriend of appellant, in addition to being listed as a witness to appellant’s hand injury on his workers’ compensation claim form. Upon arriving at Metcalfe’s residence, police found appellant there, and both he and Metcalfe voluntarily agreed to answer questions at the Blue Ash Police station concerning the homicide at the hotel.
At the police station, appellant was advised of his Miranda rights and signed a waiver form. During the interview with Sgt. Lilley and Blue Ash Police Officer Larry Stokes, appellant stated that he and Metcalfe arrived at the hotel on September 3 at approximately 5:00 a.m. At that time, appellant signed out a hotel master key at the front desk as he did every day at work. Since appellant was not due to clean the hotel banquet rooms until 10:00 a.m., he began to help Metcalfe set up the complimentary breakfast area. Shortly after 6:00 a.m., appellant learned that a coworker would not be in to work that morning, so he went to the second floor of the hotel to begin cleaning the banquet rooms. Appellant stated that at around that time, he slipped on steps outside the hotel and fell, cutting his left hand while taking trash out to the hotel dumpster. He then finished cleaning the Maple banquet room and went downstairs to help with the hotel’s complimentary breakfast.
According to Lilley, appellant was forceful and almost defensive when he claimed that he worked at the breakfast from approximately 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. that day. Appellant further claimed that he was cleaning tables in the restaurant dining area when he heard screams from the second floor as well as a trouble call over a coworker’s employer-provided walkie-talkie.
Appellant told Lilley that he again hurt his hand in a banquet room later that day and that he really thought nothing more of the injury until it started bothering him several days later on September 6. Appellant reiterated that he never left the restaurant on September 3 between 6:30 and 8:00 a.m. and asserted that he was never inside Room 237, since he had no reason to be in any of the guest rooms at the hotel. Lilley asked if he was involved in the murder, and appellant declared that he wanted to talk to an attorney before he answered any more questions. At that point, the interview ceased.
The police secured Metcalfe’s consent to search her residence and also obtained a warrant to search a vehicle owned by appellant, which was parked in Metcalfe’s driveway in Loveland. In addition, police obtained a search warrant for appellant’s residence on Morman Avenue in Cincinnati. While police seized many items of apparel from the two residences, none of them yielded any trace evidence of blood. However, the search of appellant’s car produced several items of evidence. Inside the toolbox in the trunk of appellant’s car was the unique pendant belonging to Nathan. Also recovered from the toolbox was a master key to the hotel, which could open Room 237, where the murder took place. Police also recovered door security chains, which were later used in attempting to match marks on Nathan’s body found on autopsy photos.
The last test results on the seized items came back in August 1995, and the case was later submitted to the grand jury. On September 27, 1995, the grand jury indicted appellant on two counts of aggravated felony-murder (during an aggravated burglary and during an aggravated robbery), and separate counts of aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery. Death-penalty specifications attached to each aggravated murder count alleged that appellant was the principal offender in the aggravated murder during a burglary and the principal offender in the aggravated murder during a robbery or committed the offenses with prior calculation and design. Ultimately the prosecution proceeded only on the first alternative, that appellant was the principal offender. R.C. 2929.04(A)(7). Police arrested appellant at his place of employment in downtown Cincinnati later that day and took him to the District 1 police station for processing.
While at the District 1 headquarters, appellant was shown a copy of the indictment and told he was under arrest for the murder of Rhoda Nathan, as well as for burglary and the robbery involving her pendant necklace. At that point, appellant inquired, “What necklace?” Sgt. Lilley then produced a photo sheet of the pendant recovered from appellant’s car and placed it on the table. Appellant then stated that he had never seen it before in his life. Sgt. Lilley told appellant that the pendant had been recovered from the trunk of his car. Appellant declared, “Not in my fucking car.”
A jury trial was held wherein numerous witnesses were called by both the prosecution and defense. Among the prosecution witnesses was Dr. John McDonough, who was appellant’s physician during his hand surgery. Dr. McDonough testified that he took a culture from the wound in appellant’s left hand and that testing indicated a “mixed flora” of organisms. One of the organisms detected was eikenella corrodens, an organism usually found in dental plaque, which Dr. McDonough described as extremely rare in hand injuries. Dr. McDonough testified that, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, the infection to appellant’s hand was caused by a fist-to-mouth injury because of the presence of eikenella corrodens. This type of injury is sometimes referred to as a “fight bite.” The defense put into evidence the testimony of an expert, Dr. Joseph Solomkin, who questioned the likelihood of Dr. McDonough’s conclusion. Dr. Solomkin testified that it was possible that the eikenella corrodens had come from some source other than an assault victim’s mouth.
After deliberation, the jury found appellant guilty as charged.