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Life in prison awaits man who fatally shot lover

A Buffalo man faces a sentence of life in prison for shooting his lover to death, a crime that triggered a police standoff May 12, 2009.

Jesse L. Jones, 31, pleaded guilty before State Supreme Court Justice M. William Boller to second-degree murder Wednesday in the slaying of De'aira Wall, 21, in the flat he shared with the victim and her three young children.

Wednesday, Jones admitted killing Wall in the bathroom of their Millicent Avenue flat but did not go into any details. Jones was hospitalized for months, including court-ordered treatment in a psychiatric hospital, for attempting suicide hours after the murder.

Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III said Jones pleaded guilty to the highest count he would have faced had he gone to trial in the killing.

Homicide prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable said Jones faces life in prison when he is sentenced June 6.

According to police, the lethal four-hour drama unfolded in Landhouse Millicent Village, just west of Eggert Road and north of the Kensington Expressway. Police arrived after neighbors reported hearing gunshots at about 11:30 p.m.

Sedita and Curtin Gable noted that Jones triggered a similar police standoff in 2003, when his wife threatened to divorce him. The two remain married.

Curtin Gable said Jones is not the father of Wall's three children, who were 8 months old, 3 and 4 when their mother was killed during the domestic dispute. The children were in the flat at the time.

The standoff ended at about 3:30 a.m. May 13, 2009, when Jones -- who had a relationship with the victim for four months -- shot himself in a failed suicide.

Prosecutors said the children were not harmed in the standoff, although Jones had threatened to hurt them if police stormed the residence.

The standoff ended when police tossed several "flash-bang" devices through first- and second-floor windows and rushed inside and rescued the children before finding Wall's body in the bathtub.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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