A married man has been sentenced to life in prison after the killing of a mother who lived a secret life as a paid escort.
The judge sentenced Lester Ralph Jones to life in prison on Tuesday without any possibility of parole, according to the Daily Mail. It was the second time that the 65-year-old had been arraigned for the murder of Paige Birgfeld. The initial trial had ended in a stalemate when jurors failed to reach an undisputed verdict.
Birgfeld disappeared at age 34. The devoted mother was described as a hardworking woman who did everything to provide for her three children including selling kitchen products and baby slings from her residence. Birgfeld disappeared July 1, 2007, three days after she vanished. Her torched car was found in a parking lot close to where Lester Ralph Jones worked. The remains of the Colorado woman were found in March 2012, partially buried in a Delta County gully by a hiker.
In the days, following her disappearance, details of Birgfeld’s second life came to the fore. Birgfeld was a paid escort, known as “Carrie” to her clients and one of those clients was Jones. Investigators confirmed that Jones was the last person to see her alive. A fellow escort had told investigators had Jones asked specifically for “Carrie” but canceled when he found out that she was the ex-wife of a work colleague at the local fire department.
However, his phone records showed that he continued to communicate with the mother-of-three in the days leading to her disappearance. Jones had insisted he had nothing to do with her death even when he was arrested in November for kidnapping and first-degree murder.
In the second trial, he was almost not convicted for the murder because his lawyers argued that the real killer had died in 2011. However, detectives said they questioned the man before he died and ruled him out as a suspect. They also said her ex-husband and several clients had all being exonerated.
Jones’ defense in their bid to build a case for him, gave damning evidence against their client. The lawyers acknowledged that he first denied meeting the Colorado woman and later backtracked that he ended up paying her for a massage. They claimed he was simply trying to cover his tracks as a married man.
On the night of the murder, Jones left home for about an hour, telling his wife he needed to return back to work because he forgot to switch off the lights. A few days later, Birgfeld’s car was found. The 65-year-old man also had a criminal record. He was an ex-convict who had spent five years in jail before. When police investigated him, they found a condom, Viagra and a pair of wigs in his tool box. They also found the handwritten numbers of escorts along with their bra sizes and a food scale the mother-of-three was selling at the time.
According to the Denver Post, prosecutors were sure that Jones killed Birgfeld and torched her car to destroy any evidence that would lead back to him. The prosecuting lawyers revealed that the fact the car was torched across the street from where he worked and that a forensic dog indicated his scent was in the passenger seat of her car made him culpable. A gas can was also found next to Jones’ workstation, he had initially denied purchasing it and when he was found out did not give an explanation on why he had it.
Man arrested in cold-case killing of Colorado mother who had a double life as a prostitute: Lester Ralph Jones... http://t.co/rqnYniXheh— National Auto Loans (@NationalCarLoan) November 21, 2014
Birgfeld was declared after her nanny and eight-year-old daughter lodged a complaint after she failed to come home for two days. The jury found Lester Ralph Jones this time and gave him a life sentence for his crime. He was also given 12 years in prison accompanied with three years of parole for second-degree kidnapping.
[Featured Image by BCFC/iStockPhoto]