Crime

Accomplice sentenced for her role in a burglary that led to the death of retired bus driver

Ciji Jefferson was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison. Scott County Detention Center
Ciji Jefferson was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison. Scott County Detention Center Scott County Detention Center

A Sadieville woman was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison for her role in a burglary that led to the 2010 death of retired Scott County school bus driver Glenda Sue Jones.

Ciji Jefferson, 33, pleaded guilty in January 2015 to complicity to second-degree burglary. She wasn’t sentenced until Friday because prosecutors had wanted her to testify at trial against co-defendant Nicholas Willinger, 34.

But rather than face a trial and the possibility of a death penalty, Willinger entered an Alford plea on Dec. 20 to charges of murder, robbery and burglary in the slaying and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. In an Alford plea, a defendant maintains his innocence but agrees there is enough evidence for a conviction.

Jones was found dead in her house near Sadieville on Feb. 4, 2010. The county coroner said she died of blunt-force trauma.

Jefferson’s 2014 indictment said that she told Willinger that Jones had a large amount of money in her home on Double Culvert Road and that Jones wouldn’t be home. But Jones was home.

Jefferson accompanied Willinger to Jones’ house, and, intending to share in the proceeds of the burglary, waited outside in a vehicle while Willinger went inside.

Pat Molloy, an assistant commonwealth’s attorney, said Jefferson’s cooperation was crucial in making a case against Willinger.

“We would not have had any case at all had it not been for her eventually talking,” Molloy said.

Jefferson knew Jones and her family, Molloy said.

“The family felt that she had known them and had really betrayed that friendship by taking him (Willinger) to that house and going with him when he intended to burglarize the house,” Molloy said.

Prosecutors did not recommend a penalty to Scott Circuit Judge Brian Privett, who could have sentenced Jefferson to up to 10 years. Defense attorney Brent Cox asked for probation, but Privett said that would depreciate the seriousness of the offense.

Jefferson will be eligible for parole in mid-2019 “but that doesn’t mean she will get it,” Molloy said. After she was sentenced, Jefferson was lodged in the Scott County jail.

Willinger is also serving a separate federal sentence in Tucson, Ariz., on a charge of receiving child pornography.

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