Family of man killed in gas station robbery speaks out
"He usually sits right next to me and he's not in the car anymore," said Debra DeWitt, barely holding back tears. "He's not in the house anymore. He's not there."
As a Wichita family struggles to deal with the loss of a beloved son, his accused killer faces official charges in a Sedgwick County courtroom.
It started with an attempted armed robbery at a Wichita gas station Sunday night. Now, the victim's family shares their memories of him.
"I just wish I would've never let him go to the store," said DeWitt.
Her son, Jeffery Michael Jones, was 29-years-old. But he had brain damage and the mentality of an eleven-year-old.
"You can look at my son and you can tell that he is disabled and you can also tell that he don't mean no harm to nobody," she said.
When visiting family in Wichita he liked to walk to the nearby gas station.
"So he knew everybody up there, from the owner, to all the clerks."
But Sunday night he never came home. Even knowing he's gone his family still looks for him.
"The alarm on my phone keeps going off and.. at 8 o'clock and 11 o'clock, cause that's when I give him his medicine. And he's not there to take it anymore," she said.
They struggle to answer the question, why did this have to happen to such a good person?
"No matter how bad of a day you had, he could always make you smile and laugh," she said, doing exactly that for a brief moment.
He was a man who'd help anybody, they say. Just like he did that night when an armed man tried to rob his friends at the gas station.
"All Michael did was say, 'Hey man, this ain't...' you know, tried to talk him out of it. There was no confrontation, there was no aggressiveness," said DeWitt. "It'd be like a little like a little kid trying to talk you out of doing something. You know, that's a 'no no', that's naughty, whatever."
Instead, they say, the man shot him in the face. And now they're left just trying to keep his memory alive.
"His name is Michael. And he loved wrestling."
Jones' family says he had a lot of health problems and wasn't expected to live much longer. He was working on fulfilling his bucket list which included a week-long trip to New Orleans for a professional wrestling event, his favorite sport. It's an event he'll now never get to see.
Police arrested the man they say shot Jones not too far away from the gas station. Jackson Bryant, 19, made his first appearance in court Tuesday. There prosecutors charged him with first degree murder, possession of a handgun as a felon, criminal damage to property and attempted aggravated robbery and aggravated robbery. They say he got about $150 in cash. Bryant remains behind bars on a $1 million bond.