The Life and Crimes of Bam Jones

Henry Lee Jones is accused of two murders. That's only the beginning.

On September 16, Tennessee filed first-degree murder charges and issued a nationwide bulletin for Jones' arrest. The next day, Fort Lauderdale Police Det. Charles L. Morrow spotted Jones driving along Sunrise Boulevard, near Interstate 95. Local cops and U.S. marshals attempted to pull him over. He immediately fled, leading authorities on a chase that ended quickly near 24th Avenue. Jones was taken into custody and continues to be held by the Broward Sheriff's Office for possible extradition to Tennessee. He declined to be interviewed in jail. "It ain't gonna do no good," Jones told New Times. "They're gonna do what they're gonna do."

Since Jones' arrest, police agencies throughout the Southeast have begun to reexamine unsolved murders that they believe may be linked to the Fort Lauderdale man. James R. Miller, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's special-agent supervisor in Melbourne, won't specify how many cases Jones might be linked to, choosing instead to describe the number as "several."

"There's certain characteristics to all of the cases," Miller adds. "We know he's traveled to Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama. But our work has just begun in regards to determining what he's done and where he's traveled." So far, Jones has been charged only with the murders in Tennessee.

Keith Gross (above and left) was raped and murdered on September 9, 2002.
Keith Gross (above and left) was raped and murdered on September 9, 2002.

Although Miller acknowledges that the Gross and Perez cases are among those being reexamined following Jones' arrest, Fort Lauderdale detective Shotwell is apprehensive about pointing fingers. In fact, the detective won't even admit that Jones has ever been a suspect in Gross' murder. "I have never said Jones was a suspect in Keith Gross," Shotwell comments. "We've also never said he was not. As soon as law enforcement says anything interesting, traditionally the press will jump on it. Then law enforcement says something more. All of a sudden, it takes on a life in itself. I say show me. If we accuse Henry Lee Jones of being the next Ted Bundy, that's unfair -- not only to any potential victims' families but quite honestly to Jones himself."

The north wall of Ken Walker's office at Kitchens to Go is painted Miami Dolphins blue. Autographed pictures of yesterday's Dolphins stars adorn the wall. Used tickets from two Super Bowls hang next to the desk. Football was something Walker and Keith Gross had in common. "I'm a season ticket holder, and I'd take Keith to Dolphins games and charity dinners," Walker recalls. "It was great for him because he came from nothing, had to work for everything he had. He loved the game, being so close to the players. The energy there, he loved it."

It's been just over a year since Walker saw Gross' lifeless body through a crack in the venetian blinds. It haunts him. "I'd rather be hit by Mike Tyson," he says, "than ever see something like that again."

Walker shakes his head, disgusted and drained from reliving his nightmare. He thinks Clarence and Lillian James and Carlos Perez might all be alive today had Fort Lauderdale police done their jobs one year ago. "They had Bam," Walker says, leaning forward, his elbows atop the desk as his hands gesture disbelief. "A year ago, when Keith was killed, Keith's brother and I told the police who we thought it could have been: Bam. They fucking had him. You know what I think? I think Keith was Bam's first victim. He got a taste for young boys when he raped that [mentally handicapped] kid. But Bam knew Keith was strong. Bam knew he'd fight back. That's why he had him bound and eventually had to kill him. That's what I think."

Walker leans back, his eyes watery. He cradles his head in his open palms and looks down. "They had him, man," he says. "They had him."

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