Ridgeville man sentenced to nearly 30 years in shooting death


A Ridgeville man will spend the next 28 years in prison for the 2013 shooting death of a 67-year-old man.

Sonny Ray Jones Jr., 38, pleaded guilty to murder and armed robbery Thursday in a courtroom in Dorchester County. He was sentenced to 30 years but will receive credit for the 26 months he's already served in jail.

Jones will not be eligible for parole.

Jones sneaked up behind Edwards, shot him in the head with a .25-caliber handgun, then took $44 from his pocket and a checkbook from his pickup truck on Feb. 1, 2013, according to arrest affidavits.

Jones' mother, Mary Grooms, 55, and his stepfather, Endsley Grooms, 68, recently pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to murder for their involvement. The couple was sentenced to seven years in prison and five years of probation.

Mary and Endsley Grooms learned immediately after the murder that Jones had killed Edwards and then lied to law enforcement on multiple occasions over the next three weeks, according to 1st Circuit Deputy Solicitor Donald Sorenson.

For 12 years, Edwards and the three others lived together at Ridge Road in Ridgeville.

The motive for the murder remains a bit unclear but Jones told authorities his mother and stepfather told him their lives would be better without Edwards around, according to Sorenson.

Sonny Jones also had a prescription pill addiction at the time of the killing, which played a large role in his decision making, Sorenson said.

Reach Natalie Caula Hauff at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.