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Justice with Jessica: APD seeks answers in 1987 William Jones cold case

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William Jones
Posted at 11:59 AM, Sep 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-13 13:59:50-04

Moving to Colorado should have been a fresh start for 22-year-old William Alonzo Jones.

But nearly 40 years ago, he was walking down a street in Aurora, blasting music from his boombox, when his life was cut short.

"He was, you know, just a fun, outgoing person," his sister Tina Anderson described. "He loved his music, and he was down to earth."

Tina said he was also an artist who loved to sit in parks and draw people.

While there were several witnesses to Jones' shooting, the killer has remained a mystery for decades.

There are six clues investigators say could now help them solve the decades-old case.

Detective Jason McDonald with the Aurora Police Department is one of the most recent investigators to reopen the case over the years.

He said Jones was walking eastbound on 13th Ave. in Aurora on the evening of May 10, 1987.

"Witnesses saw a vehicle pull up next to him while he was walking on the sidewalk," McDonald said. "And he walked up to the window of the car as if they knew each other."

McDonald explained Jones didn't seem prepared for what would happen next.

"Next thing witnesses saw was gunfire and William fall to the ground. The car sped off. Nobody got a plate," McDonald said. "William was airlifted to Denver General by helicopter, but he succumbed to his gunshot wounds."

Tina said she didn't get a call from police until several days after her brother's death.

"I was at home sleeping, detective called and said, 'Your brother’s dead,' and hung up the phone," she described to Denver7 tearfully. "That’s all I remember."

Clue #1:

Police circulated a flyer after the shooting, describing the vehicle witnesses saw as a light blue Plymouth Volare with a white top. The model year was between 1974 and 1976.

Clue #2:

Jones was on his way to an unknown girlfriend's house just before the shooting took place, according to investigators.

Clue #3:

McDonald said Jones kept a diary that could provide more specifics about events leading up to the shooting.

"The diary does contain some day-to-day entries by somebody, and it appears to follow William's life and his daily activities," McDonald said. "And he'd been keeping the journal for over a year."

In it, Jones described a woman named Denise. McDonald thinks Denise might be able to answer some important questions about the case.

"I would really like to know who this girlfriend was that William was dating back in May of 1987," McDonald said. "There is a girlfriend from William's diary that the first name is given of Denise. Denise could be this girlfriend that we're talking about."

But Jones' family members said they don't believe the diary belonged to him. The diary has multiple types of handwriting.

Clue #4:

Police also said a fight took place toward the end of November 1986 at 1205 Washington Street in Denver about six months before the murder.

"That may have led to bad blood, which down the road led to his death," McDonald said.

Clue #5:

When Jones died, an anonymous donor, took care of the funeral, according to Marquita Anderson, one of Jones' nieces.

"My uncle was buried by an unknown donor," Marquita said. "The person paid for the entire funeral, casket, everything."

Marquita thinks the donor could have important info that may help break the case wide open.

Clue #6:

She told McDonald she thinks the killer may have been a friend of the family at the time. Specifically— a friend of Jones's grandmother.

The family gave Denver7 a phone number to contact the grandmother, but it didn't work.

As McDonald continues to investigate the case, he has a message for people who may know something.

"I think it goes back to if this was your family member, somebody that you care about, maybe a best friend, what would you want done? And so I think all of us would want justice for that person."

Justice with Jessica: APD seeks answers in 1987 William Jones cold case

If you have any information on the case, police and family members urge you to call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP(7867) or report online.

You will remain anonymous and could be eligible for an award of up to $2,000.

"Please take this seriously," Marquita said. "I mean, I know it's 1987, but he still means something to us. These people should not be able to live a full life as if they done nothing."

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