The family of a Springfield man gunned down hours after he faced a judge in connection with an international drug case said they don’t believe his murder was drug-related.
Ebonyuwezo “Lee-Lee” Jones, 36, was shot to death late Aug. 30 near the corner of West Jefferson and Shaffer streets. He was included in a 19-count indictment handed up by a Clark County grand jury on Aug. 19 for his connection to a drug operation Springfield police had been investigating since September 2012.
Two others — Pedro Arriaga-Reyes and Leroy Lewis III— were his co-defendants. Both remain in the Clark County Jail and are scheduled to go to trial Nov. 13.
While Jones was killed just hours after his arraignment on the felony charges, his aunt Cynthia Beachum said she doesn’t believe his death is connected to the case.
“I actually believe he got shot in a dispute between him and some locals,” she said, but declined to discuss what the dispute was about.
Springfield detectives are still investigating, and Police Chief Stephen Moody said they haven’t ruled out any motives for the shooting yet.
“I will tell you that everything is on the table. We talk about the homicides and go over different things daily,” Moody said. “Hopefully, someone will step up and do the right thing with this case.”
Beachum described Jones as a caring person who was close with his family and enjoyed cars. She said he met Arriaga-Reyes, who allegedly dealt Jones kilos of heroin for sale, while cutting his hair at a barbershop. Police said Arriaga-Reyes allegedly supplied a kilogram of cocaine to Jones in June. At Jones’ arrest on June 20, he was in possession of more than 1,000 grams of cocaine, according to the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office.
While selling drugs was a mistake, Beachum said her nephew didn’t deserve to die.
“I just have these memories when he was a baby and how I used to dress him up,” Beachum said while tears rolled down her cheeks. “All we have (are) memories now, thinking we can’t see him no more.”
Beachum said she hopes those who may have witnessed Jones’ murder will come forward with information to police.
“If it was their brother or nephew or cousin or something, they would want somebody to stand up and say something,” she said. “My family, they’re waiting for the detectives to do their job, and I’m waiting for the Lord to do his. So one way or another they’re going to get it.”
Anyone with information can call Springfield police at (937) 324-7716.