On the day of the funeral, a grieving sister received the worst of phone calls.
“I’m sorry. I killed the wrong Sharon Jones,” the caller hung up before she could get more information. What happened to the ECSU student in dorm room #125 on March 4, 1984? How did she end up strangled with a belt and tied to her own bedpost? Thirty-five years and still no one knows why.
Sharon B. Jones, 21 returned to the ECSU campus early from spring break to prepare for her student teaching job. She arrived around 9:30 pm and spoke to the Assistant Housing Director, Herbert Williams to gain entry into the Mitchell Lewis Dorm on the S.E. side of the campus. Williams and his cousin Adrian Douglas escorted the woman to her room.
Monday morning Sharon’s body was discovered in the room. She was naked and lying face down. She had been strangled with a white belt tied to a bedpost. There was evidence of blunt force trauma above the right eye and bruising above the left ear. Strangely the window was broken from the inside of the room leaving glass outside on the ground. A small amount of blood was found on the windowsill. Detectives found a bloody dumbell under one of the beds when searching the room.
It seemed like the case was doomed from the beginning. Williams and Douglas told investigators that Jones was nervous walking to her room alone when she noticed a light above her dorm room when no one was supposed to be there. Investigators researched the light and found there was one other woman who had stayed on campus during spring break. Her name was Angela Jones. (No Relation)
Angela was dating a 31-yr-old man by the name of Delantry Terrial Tafton. Tafton was somewhat of a campus troublemaker and had recently received a 14-week suspension. Although he wasn’t supposed to be on campus, he had spent the night with Angela and left around 7 am the next morning. Both Angela and “Tee” claimed a stranger had knocked on their door around 11 pm asking for their names.
The police chief stated within days that the motive must have been malice or jealousy since they couldn’t find evidence of a robbery and the sexual assault tests were inconclusive. They dialed in on Tafton and refused to look elsewhere. This hasty rush to a motive effectively eliminated other possible suspects and is most likely the reason why this case is still cold 35 years later.
During the chaos that engulfed the campus after the brutal murder, the funeral arrangements were made for Sharon Beatrice Jones. On the day of the funeral, Sharon’s sister Lisa gets a phone call from a stranger. The man sounded young. Before she could say anything, the man pleaded his case.
“I’m sorry. I killed the wrong Sharon Jones.”
Before the confused woman could respond the line went dead. Lisa didn’t know what to think and now three decades later no one knows why Sharon died or who killed her. I realize Tafton shouldn’t have been on campus, but I’m wondering why no one thought it was suspicious for two men to escort one girl to her dorm room all because of a light. Did anyone investigate Williams and his cousin? Why was his cousin there anyways? Did he work there?
If you have any information on this case, please contact the Elizabeth City Police Department at (252) 335-4321
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