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‘Do I go straight to jail for murder?’ man asked after pastor’s death

Posted at 3:19 PM, Mar 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-31 18:54:21-04

PETERSBURG, Va. -- An 81-year-old pastor stood just feet from the man accused of abducting him and murdering his wife, fellow pastor Minnie Woodard.

Kristopher Jones appeared in Petersburg General District Court Friday for a preliminary hearing on charges related to a January 18 crime spree that spanned several Virginia cities and counties.

Kristopher T. Jones

Jones walked into court wearing a green prison suit and shackles.

He kept his head down and did not utter a word during the two-hour hearing.

Woodard testified that at 9 a.m. his wife, Minnie, went upstairs to the couple's bedroom inside the Petersburg home where they lived for 44 years.

She told her husband it was time to eat and that his former employee, Kristopher Jones, was there to see him.

Jones worked for the family's construction business for about two years, according to Woodard.

The pastor said he fell asleep, but awoke to find Jones standing near his bed with a 12-inch kitchen knife and told him, "I'm here to rob you."

When Woodard asked where his wife was, he testified Jones responded, "She's in my truck with my friend."

Jones then told Woodard that he needed a lot of money and began to rifle through the man's wallet.

During the encounter, Woodard said Jones also told him that he had just killed his girlfriend.

Jones' girlfriend, 52-year old year Janice Lugo, was later found dead in her home, which is one block away from the Woodwards' home on Jefferson Avenue.

When asked for his debit card PIN, Woodard testified that he told Jones, "You can have all you want. Take me to a bank and I can get it out of the teller machine."

Woodard then drove Jones to an ATM and then to the Bank of America on S. Crater Road in Petersburg where he told tellers to call 911.

Several of Woodard's family members openly wept while listening to the patriarch's testimony.

Jones left Woodard at the bank and eluded police at speeds of about 100 miles per hour, according to a Petersburg Police officer.

His next moves are unknown, and it is unclear how Minnie disappeared.

After searching for hours, Jones was arrested January 19 in a Lowe’s parking lot in Norfolk.

Detective Justin Matthews, a 14-year veteran with the Norfolk Police Department, testified he put the suspect inside his car where Jones asked, "Do you want to know where her body's at?"

Det. Matthews said Jones also asked, "Do I go straight to jail for murder?"

Jones then offered to tell police the location of where he left what was later determined to be Minnie Woodard's body, according to the detective.

Jones told detectives her body was under a wood pile in the back of a home in the Matoaca area.

Police would later find Minnie's body behind a home under construction on River Road in Chesterfield.

According to Petersburg Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Cheryl Wilson, the medical examiner has yet to officially send them the autopsy reports for Minnie Woodard and Janice Lugo.

A Petersburg judge certified five felony charges against Jones to the Petersburg grand jury which will meet April 20.

The charges include eluding police, grand larceny, carjacking, robbery, and the abduction of 81-year-old Alfred Woodard.

For now, no more charges have been filed against Jones.

An abduction charge of Woodard's wife, Minnie, was not certified to the grand jury.

Jones has a history in Petersburg courts, including pleading guilty to felony unlawful wounding and felony breaking and entering back in 2004. He served 12 months in Jail for the unlawful wounding. In both cases the court was concerned about his mental health.