September 2, 2014

Man who killed Aiken officer sentenced to life without parole

Master Corporal Sandra Rogers (Aiken Department of Public Safety)

Master Corporal Sandra Rogers (Aiken Department of Public Safety)

A North Augusta man will spend the rest of his life in jail after he pleaded guilty to murdering an Aiken Public Safety officer.

Joshua Jones, 28, was sentenced to life without parole for the shooting death of Master Corporal Sandra Rogers in 2012. Jones pleaded “guilty but mentally ill” to murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, unlawful carrying of a pistol, failure to stop for blue lights and petit larceny, the Aiken Standard reports. The plea came after a psychologist diagnosed him with schizophrenia, saying he tried to shoot himself in the head about six months before he killed the officer.

Investigators say Jones shot his pregnant girlfriend Cayce Vice, 21, in Georgia at some point before the morning of Jan. 28, 2012. Later that morning, Corporal Rogers was responding to a call about a suspicious vehicle at the Eustis Park area in Aiken. Prosecutors with the 2nd Circuit Solicitor’s Office said Rogers found Jones in a BMW reportedly stolen from his father. Law enforcement did not yet know about Vice’s murder at the time. After Rogers confronted Jones, an altercation ensued. Prosecutors said Jones shot Rogers three times and fled the scene.

Officers said they chased the fleeing BMW at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour, but eventually lost sight of  the car. He was later arrested at his home in Batesburg-Leesville.

Circuit Court Judge Doyet Early accepted the plea deal Monday. Jones will be sentenced to a maximum security prison with a mental health facility.