‘Katina’s killer’ pleads guilty

Published 8:38 pm Monday, March 12, 2012

A Texas man has pleaded guilty to a Suffolk woman’s 2010 murder.

Larry Nicholas “Tumbleweed” O’Neal, 34, entered into a plea agreement earlier this month and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, grand larceny, credit card theft and credit card fraud. He was initially charged with first-degree murder.


O’Neal murdered 31-year-old mother Katina L. Jones, who was found dead by asphyxiation in her Crowdy Boulevard apartment on Nov. 7, 2010.

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The case marked the first time the Suffolk Police Department dedicated a Facebook page to a single crime. The “Catch Katina’s Killer” page had 1,437 “likes” on Monday afternoon. It featured multiple photos of O’Neal and updates on the investigation.

The case was set for a three-day trial this week. Had the case gone to trial, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Will Jamerson said, he would have presented circumstantial evidence showing O’Neal was the last person with Jones.

O’Neal also stole and used her car and credit cards. The car was found in Norfolk later the day of her murder.

When he turned himself in to police in Roanoke about 10 days later, he admitted to taking her car and credit cards but never admitted to the murder, Jamerson said.

Jones had been working two jobs to support her then-8-year-old daughter, who was visiting grandparents that day.

The month before the murder, Jones and O’Neal conversed via Facebook about his request for a ride from the Greyhound bus station in Norfolk. She responded to the request by asking what time he was arriving.

The plea agreement calls for a maximum of 35 years to serve, Jamerson said. O’Neal will be sentenced May 23.