Novi— A parolee charged in the death of an elderly Novi neighbor was ordered to stand trial for first-degree premeditated murder and felony murder in Oakland Circuit Court on Tuesday.
Peter G. Jones, 46, is charged in the Jan. 13 death of Bernice Schaufele, 84.
Investigators told 52-1 District Judge Dennis Powers they have recovered evidence in Jones’ home, including jewelry and a blood-stained towel believed taken from the victim’s home.
Before ordering Jones to stand trial, the judge said the witnesses, 27 exhibits and evidence presented by Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Ken Frazee collectively created “moving pictures” of what occurred and there was sufficient probable cause that Jones committed the crime.
Jones was remanded without bond to the Oakland County Jail pending trial. If convicted of the charges, he faces up to life in prison.
Jones is on parole after serving most of a seven-year sentence for 1998 manslaughter and unarmed robbery convictions out of Wayne County. His parole was set to expire in May.
Novi detectives said Schaufele, who lived alone, was found inside her home in the 20900 block of West Glen Haven Circle by a daughter who became concerned when unable to reach her by telephone.
Dr. Kanu Virani, a forensic pathologist with the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office, said Schaufele died of “near strangling and a stab wound to the neck.”
Police took an interest in Jones, who lived with his sister in a neighboring condominium, after the victim’s daughter reported to detectives he had been acting suspiciously at the murder scene.
The daughter, Sharon Schaufele, said Jones was walking toward the condominium “about 5 feet way and had his head down and smoking a cigarette” but never looked up to see what was going on.
“I thought it was unusual — if you see a crime scene with police and firemen standing around, wouldn’t he look around?” Schaufele testified Tuesday.
Police obtained a search warrant and searched Jones’ basement where they found a pink makeup bag containing a ring; a key to a safe; and a bloody dish towel hidden in the basement’s ceiling. All of the property was missing from the victim’s condominium.
Another witness, Dontez Bell, testified he received several phone calls from Jones theday of the slaying.
Saying he wanted to clear his name of any connection to the slaying, Bell testified that Jones owed him $100 for cocaine and wanted to set up a meeting.
Jones — who is unemployed — rode a bicycle to a gas station parking lot two miles away, paid Bell for the cocaine, and bought an additional $50 in crack cocaine and marijuana, Bell testified.