Freak accidents happen every single day. Ordinary people lose their lives crossing the road, eating a meal, or even going for a run.
In 2015, a Philadelphia community was shocked when a hard working mother was killed while she was waiting for the bus. However, the news was even more devastating when police announced that they believed the 56-year-old’s death had not been an accident…
The Morning Commute
On the morning of January 13, 2015, 56-year-old Kim Jones was waiting for the 23 SEPTA bus at around 9:15 a.m like she did every morning to get to work. Kim was a program director at an after-school outreach program called Turning Points for Children.
An Upstanding Citizen
The Philadelphia woman was a dedicated mother and spent her life trying to improve her community. At work, she directed the Families and Schools Together (FAST) program, which helped low-income parents and kids get more involved at over 62 schools in the area…
A Senseless Death
But, on the morning of January 13th, Kim never made it to the office, which was extremely uncharacteristic of the hardworking mom. Instead, police found her dead on the corner of 12th and Jefferson Street where she had been waiting for the bus.
The Surveillance Footage
When the police reviewed surveillance footage in the area, they saw Kim had walked about a half-block to the bus stop from her home just after 9 a.m. According to the police, Kim had headphones on and was listening to gospel music while she walked…
Once at the bus stop, surveillance footage showed Kim leaning up against a short brick retaining wall with her work bag over her shoulder. She had no idea at the time, but a man wearing black clothing and a hood with a duffel bag was sneaking up behind her.
According to police, the man had been waiting outside Kim’s home for an hour that morning and was seen following her to the bus stop. After creeping up behind Kim, he shot her once in the back of the head and then walked off as she was dying on the sidewalk…
The news came as a shock to Kim’s family, co-workers, and the rest of the community that was grateful for all the work she did for them. Police had no idea who the killer would be, but was sure that Kim had been targeted, which confused everyone even more since Kim didn’t have any enemies.
The Community Is Devastated
“We know she was targeted for whatever reason. We do not believe it was a robbery,” Philadelphia Police Captain James Clark said. But the police’s theory didn’t make any sense to those who knew Kim. “It’s unreal to us around here – devastating. I don’t have any words – it’s unbelievable. I’m still trying to process this,” said Mary May Bardnard, Kim’s co-worker…
A Co-Worker Speaks Out
“Kim was a person who would do anything to anyone in need. She was a caring, dedicated, hardworking – very dedicated to her family and to her church,” Barnard added. Another co-worker, Randolph Sanders, was especially stunned since he had just attended Kim’s wedding.
Bad Things Happen To Good People
“I believe Tuesday she was celebrating her 30 days of being married. I was fortunate to be invited to the wedding, she was very happy – so this is very disturbing,” said Sanders. Like all other homicides, the city offered a $20,000 reward for any information that could lead to an arrest and conviction…
The First Clue
At first, it didn’t look like the police had any clues as to who would want Kim dead, but then they got a better look at more surveillance cameras in the area. After the senseless shooting, the killer was caught on camera walking to the subway at Cecil B. Moore station.
The 2007 GMC Yukon
The shooter got off the subway at Hunting Park. He then left the subway station and walked a short distance before getting into a 2007 GMC Yukon and driving away. The same Yukon was later found parked outside the home of Randolph Sanders…
An Arrest Is Made
In the early hours of January 31, 2015, a police special tactics team burst into Sanders’ home and arrested the man, who was Kim’s assistant director and had spoken out to the media in the days after Kim’s death about how devastating and shocking the news was.
An Unlikely Suspect
Police believed Sanders was faking his grief and it was confirmed when Sanders confessed to the crime. “Mr. Sanders was brought into the homicide unit on Saturday for questioning and gave a full confession on committing this premeditated and senseless murder,” Philadelphia Police Capt. James Clark said…
A Son’s Outrage
“The fact that he could even look any of my family members in the eye and shake my hand the day of my mother’s funeral is just flat out unimaginable,” the victim’s son, Andre Jourden, said after it was revealed that Sanders had been charged for his mother’s murder. “I now put my faith in our justice system to truly give him what he deserves for murdering a respected, generous, loved and selfless woman that did nothing but try to help people.”
The only thing that didn’t make sense was why Sanders would do something so horrible to such a good woman and boss. Police kept looking for a motive, and they finally found it when they discovered Sanders had processed $42,000 worth of payment vouchers, which are meant to be stipends for Turning Points school volunteers…
The vouchers had been made out to 29 people, none of whom were involved with the Turning Points program. Police found that almost all the vouchers were for his friends and fraternity brothers. When Kim found out what had happened to the money, she confronted Sanders.
Sanders feared he would lose his job and ruin his reputation if anyone else found out. So when he heard that Kim had scheduled a meeting the next day with officials from Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Service, he had to stop her from exposing him…
The very next day after Sanders was confronted about the money, he followed Kim to the bus stop and killed her. “He waited for her to come out [of] the house — laid in wait — and then he ambushed her,” Captain Clark said at a news conference.
At trial, Sanders claimed he was innocent even though he had previously confessed to the crime. However, the evidence was overwhelming and the jury announced the verdict that they found Sanders was guilty of first-degree murder. Judge Glenn Bronson sentenced Sanders to life in prison without parole and added consecutive sentences of 8.5 to 17 years in jail for 3 gun charges. According to Judge Bronson, the case had “the most overwhelming evidence in a case I have ever seen in 35 years as a judge and a lawyer.”