Linda Taylor’s popularity began in her teens at Jean Ribault High in Jacksonville, Florida. She bestowed her attention upon Jack Jones, a senior starter on the Varsity Football Team. The first day Jack met Linda’s mother, she stated with certainty, “this is the man my daughter is going to marry.” In Linda’s case, mother knew best and after Linda graduated in 1965, she and Jack wed. The young couple had no interest in college. Instead they both went out to work and bought a 2-bedroom starter home on Jefferson Street.
Eventually, 1972 baby Jill was born and in 1975 baby sister Shayne followed. Soon Linda was offered a partnership at the bookkeeping firm where she worked and Jack was promoted to Service Manager at a local Buick dealership. Jack spoiled Linda with jewelry until she wore a diamond ring on every finger. The money came rolling in and the couple built a home in early 1980s on Lake Asbury. It was southwest of Jacksonville and it seemed ideal. Their daughters looked out of their windows to see horses running in the fields. The family boated, swam and went water-skiing.
However it was not all roses. Jack and Linda both had affairs over the years. By 1994 the girls were grown and moved on, and Jack and Linda celebrated their 30th anniversary. At work, Linda hired Carrie Davis to help out at the bookkeeping office. Carrie needed a place to stay after graduating high school and Linda offered Carrie her home to live in. She and Jack treated Carrie as if she were their own. However when the girls visited in the spring, they weren’t impressed and warned Linda that Carrie seemed too friendly with Jack. Eventually, Linda noticed it too and when she confronted Carrie, the teenager replied that indeed she and Jack were having an affair. That evening Linda confronted Jack. Jack admitted he was having sex with the girl and he was in love with her. What’s more he refused to give her up.
Linda was devastated. She dug in her heels, kicked Carrie out of the house but soon learned that Jack set her up in an apartment near his work. It was around that time that strange things began happening in the Jones’ house. Linda filed several police reports including vandalism and break-ins. In October she claimed someone broke into the house and raped her. Confused and amused, Jack pondered to a friend, “what will happen next?” Not long after, Carrie’s apartment was broken into. A detective warned Jack to get out of his own house for his own sake, but Jack remained with Linda. Linda continued to believe they would work things out until she found out Jack bought Carrie an engagement ring using Linda’s credit card.
On November 7 1995, Jack returned home at 7 p.m. The county police received a frantic phone call from Linda Jones an hour later. Their residence in Lake Asbury soon swarmed with emergency vehicles. Deputies found Jack’s brutalized corpse dead at the scene. Paramedics brought Linda to the hospital as she seemed to be in shock. She gave police a statement that two men rang the bell to her home, beat Jack and grabbed Linda by the hair demanding, “where’s the money, bitch?” The crime was unheard of in Lake Asbury. The police found the duct tape the burglars tied her up with, however technicians lifted her fingerprint from it.
The following morning, Jack’s body still lay on the floor and Linda’s attorney wouldn’t let her speak to authorities. Carrie attended Jack’s funeral a week later. Jack’s friends were more sympathetic toward Carrie than Linda. People pointed at Linda and whispered that she was Jack’s murderer. Investigators questioned Linda and Jack’s family and friends to find information about the marriage. A friend of Linda’s admitted to a strange phone call with her two days before Jack’s murder. Linda stated she was not “going to be fat and 40. You don’t get a life insurance settlement with a divorce.”
Her phone records turned up phone calls to petty criminals, Dwight Danahoo and Greg Green, Under questioning they admitted Linda Jones had asked them to kill Jack, but they refused. However Green assisted her in faking a break-in and rape reports. Linda paid Green to break into the house, knock her up a little, stuff a note into her mouth and tie her up. Later, Linda went to his business and paid him $50 to have sex with her to create “DNA” evidence.
A neighbour reported to police that on the night of Jack’s murder a maroon Nissan van was seen driving away from Linda and Jack’s residence. The cops tracked down every maroon Nissan van in North Florida. One of them belonged to a tax client of Linda’s named Donald Bradley. His fingerprints didn’t match the print on the duct tape. Then in September 1995, Bradley was arrested for road rage. His co-worker, Brian McWhite, was with him and a deputy submitted his print to the lab for a comparison to the print on the duct tape. In September 1996, a positive identification was made on the print to McWhite. McWhite refused to cooperate with police but when his teenaged brother heard of McWhite’s arrest, he told his father about Jack Jones’ murder.
Both the teen and McWight were at the Jones’ house on November 7 1995. Bradley had offered them $100 each to beat up Jack. The brothers had used a zulu war club, a long piece of wood with a hole in one end and a heavy object through it: that was the murder weapon. Police arrested both McWhite boys and Donald Bradley. On October 14, 1996, police arrested Linda Jones for the murder of her husband. At 50 years old, Linda went on trial for Jack’s murder. Linda swore Jack had been beaten to death in a home invasion attempt. In the fall of 1997, Linda stood trial for 4 charges including conspiracy to commit murder, 2 charges for solicitation for murder and first degree murder. She faced life in prison.
Prosecutors told the jury that Linda was the mastermind behind Jack’s murder. The defence claimed the case was based solely on the word of criminals and murderers. Career criminals, Danahoo and Greene were the first two witnesses on the stand with their unlikely story. The McWhite brothers stated Linda planned every detail of the attack. They beat Jack severely but it was Bradley who delivered the fatal blows. Linda calmly watched as Jack was beaten to death. The McWhite brothers stood to gain a “sweetheart” deal, as the defence was quick to point out. Furthermore the crime scene had been trampled by 14 people, preventing a thorough crime scene investigation. Linda’s lawyer also stated that there was no proof she was involved in a murder conspiracy.
On November 6, 1996, Linda was found guilty on all charges. Linda’s daughters were shocked. Bradley was sentenced to death. The McWhite brothers are serving 10-year sentences. Linda is serving her sentence in the Marion County Prison in Florida.