MONTEREY CO. (KRON/BCN) — A 74-year-old former professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey confessed today to fatally shooting and dismembering his ex-wife in 2012, according to the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office Wednesday.
Larry Jones, 74, admitted to murdering Norife Herrera Jones at his home on Spray Avenue in Monterey sometime between Aug. 31 and Sept. 7, 2012, prosecutors said.
He was a professor at the Naval Postgraduate School on sabbatical leave at the time his estranged wife died, according to prosecutors.
Jones pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to premeditated attempted murder on Aug. 31, and guilty to premeditated murder with personal use of a firearm days later, prosecutors said.
On Sept. 7, San Benito County sheriff’s deputies were informed of a dismembered body along Cannon Road, prosecutors said.
The body was eventually identified as Norife’s, according to prosecutors.
Monterey police and FBI personnel served a search warrant at the Spray Avenue home, where they determined someone was shot and dismembered, prosecutors said.
An investigation showed that on Aug. 31, Larry Jones was arguing with his estranged wife over a divorce settlement and in a “manic rage” struck her with a blunt object that left her unconscious, prosecutors said.
Days later, he shot her in the head and lower torso with a gun, then dismembered her body, prosecutors said.
Jones put his ex-wife’s body in the trunk of her Honda sometime before Sept. 7, and placed her body parts on a driveway near U.S. Highway 101 on Cannon Road, according to prosecutors.
He then traveled to San Diego for a school-affiliated recruitment interview from Sept. 11-13, 2012, prosecutors said.
He didn’t board a flight back to Monterey, which prompted Monterey police to track him down with assistance from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department at a hotel near Los Angeles International Airport, according to prosecutors.
The defendant bought a ticket online for a flight to Rio de Janeiro that was set to leave on Sept. 15, prosecutors said.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office and San Jose police also helped in the investigation, according to prosecutors.
Jones will return to court on May 18 when Monterey County Superior Court Judge Julie Culver is expected to send him to the California Department of State Hospitals for mental evaluation. If he is found sane, he will be sentenced to 50 years to life in state prison, prosecutors said.