Lester Ralph Jones, 65, was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the 2007 murder and kidnapping of a Colorado single mother who secretly ran an escort service to provide for her children. It was Jones’ second trial, after the first ended in a mistrial due to a hung jury.
Paige Birgfeld, 34, ran several businesses to support her three children—including an escort business, it emerged after her disappearance, in which she went by the name “Carrie.” Jones had been one of “Carrie’s” regular clients.
This was a surprise to many who knew her. Jess Dixon, Birgfeld’s 17-year-old daughter, called her mother a devoted “soccer mom” in Jones’ first trial.
Birgfeld’s car was found three days after her disappearance, set on fire near Jones’ workplace, and her remains were found by a hiker out by a gully in 2012. Still, Jones’ lawyers argued throughout the trial that there was no physical evidence in the case against him.
“While this verdict will not bring Paige Birgfeld back to her family, we are happy it will give her family closure,” Megan Terlecky, a spokesman for the Mesa County sheriff’s office, said in a statement.