Son's murder stuns family from Maine


Laurence A. Jones Jr. became a statistic in Baltimore Saturday, barely noted as murder victim No. 313 in a city where the homicide tally had reached 321 as of last night.

In his home town of Bangor, Maine, where he will be buried today, he is remembered as a promising student, friend and only child.

The 24-year-old was found about 3 a.m. Saturday morning one door from his home in the 1400 block of Bank St. on the edge of Little Italy and Fells Point, police said. He had been shot in the left eye. He died 18 hours later at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

So far, police say they have no suspects in his murder. The only theory about motive is that Mr. Jones was killed during a robbery; his wallet is missing.

A gold ring his parents bought him while they were visiting Korea some years ago had been torn off his finger as well. Friends who were with him earlier in the evening visiting bars in Fells Point told police he had had no money with him.

Mr. Jones moved to Baltimore not quite three months ago to apply for a job in his chosen field -- psychology. He graduated in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in abnormal psychology from the University of Maine-Orono and planned to apply to the Johns Hopkins University's graduate psychology program.

The young man's father, Laurence A. Jones Sr., said that when he and his wife, Yong Cha Jones, came to Baltimore to pick up their son's belongings, they found a letter from the university asking him to return for a final job interview.

"He really had high hopes when he came to Baltimore. So did we," the elder Mr. Jones said.

"He's my only son," his mother. "I do not wish this to happen to anyone. Put this in the newspaper for the future so they will know."

The victim's Bank Street neighbors described the young man as friendly and outgoing. Margaret Hock, who lived next door, said last night that she and her family had known Mr. Jones since his move to Baltimore in August. "He was very nice, pleasant, often talked with my children," she said.

No one heard shouts or gunshots before Jones's body was found, Mrs. Hock said. "We have two Dobermans who jump at every little noise. . . . They did nothing that morning, and I am a very light sleeper. There was absolutely nothing," she said.

Mr. Jones grew up in Bangor, the son of employees of paper mills there; his father in security and his mother a machine operator.

In high school, he swam competitively and was a member of junior ROTC for six years. He was an Eagle Scout. "He did anything to do with sports. He was very versatile. He played the violin for awhile," said his father.

In college, the young man held a number of offices in his fraternity, Delta Upsilon, and was known for his avid participation in intramural sports, recalled a fellow fraternity member, Brent Scobie of Old Town.

During the summers, Mr. Jones worked in psychology research that included hypertension and cognitive functions.

Psychology -- and people -- were "his thing," his father says. "He felt felt comfortable with people. He got along well with about anybody."

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