Mother of murder suspect claims son's innocence - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Mother of murder suspect claims son's innocence

BELLE GLADE, FL (WFLX) - As the community continues to gather in effort to change the tainted image of Belle Glade and stop the violence, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate the murder of Jimmy McMillan.

Twenty-year-old Johnathan Jones is the second man to be arrested in connection to the murder of the 49-year-old grocery store owner. Investigators also arrested 19-year-old Corey Graham, Jr.

Jones stood in a Belle Glade courtroom on Wednesday adamantly denying allegations he had anything to do with the murder of McMillan. His mother, Betty Hardwick, was also there proclaiming his innocence. "The reason he was so adjudicated in court today [Wednesday] is because he's innocent," said Hardwick.

Standing outside the home where she and her son lived, Hardwick said that contrary to information written in Jones' arrest affidavit, her son and murder suspect, Corey Graham Jr., were not friends.

"Childhood friends? Where'd that come from?" she said. "I don't remember Corey from childhood. They were not friends. Not like that."

Jones lived just two blocks from the Alabama Georgia Grocery store where McMillan was shot and killed during an armed robbery attempt.

His mother says he often visited the store and knew McMillan. "He goes to that store all the time to get cigarettes and Black & Milds," she said.

Investigators say the surveillance video shows Jones going into the store before, they say, Graham robbed and shot McMillan.

Jones is charged with being an accessory after the fact of a capital felony and with tampering with physical evidence.

Hardwick stands firm and says her son is innocent. "He hasn't done anything," she said. "Johnny don't get in no trouble."

Jones was arrested in connection with a drive-by shooting in 2010, but his charges were later dropped.

Hardwick says the family plans to get an attorney, and that Jones' daughter Jordan is the one suffering the most from these alegations.

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