A Barnard college student has been accused of stabbing her mother to death during an argument about the 22-year-old returning to school.
Malika Jones has been charged with murder in the death of her 57-year-old mother Inell Jones after authorities said she fatally stabbed her in the chest during an argument at the family’s Rahway, New Jersey home, according to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by Oxygen.com.
George Mars, described by The New York Post as a 72-year-old tenant in the home, later told police that the two women had been arguing throughout the day about Malika’s “living situation” and “going back to school,” according to the affidavit.
Malika had taken a leave of absence from Barnard College last spring and had been living at home while she took classes at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, her lawyer Dennis Hickerson-Breedon told The Post.
But the living arrangement had apparently become difficult. Mars told police he heard the two begin arguing Feb. 16 at around 7 a.m. and said they had a second argument about school later in the day.
Something happened that prompted Inell to yell out to Malika that she (Malika) had "cut herself" and needed to go to the hospital for treatment, Mars told police. It's not clear what transpired leading up to that moment. Inell apparently returned to gathering up bags of canned goods to donate, Mars said.
A short time later, Mars told investigators he heard a crash that sounded like “dishes breaking in the kitchen” and at some point after Malika came toward him saying “she tried to hurt me,” the affidavit said.
Mars went into the kitchen where he found Inell unresponsive, covered in blood and laying on her side amidst scattered household items, police said.
He told investigators that it took him 20 to 30 minutes to calm Malika down before they called police.
Malika called 911 just after 3 p.m. to report that her mother had tried to hurt her and needed medical attention, the affidavit said. The 22-year-old allegedly told the Rahway Police Department dispatcher that her mother had been stabbed and that it had been an accident.
Police discovered Inell unresponsive in the kitchen and a large “common kitchen knife” not far from the body. She was pronounced dead just before 3:30 p.m.
Malika’s attorney told The New York Times that his client was acting in self-defense
“We believe that down the line, facts are going to reveal themselves that will vindicate her,” Hickerson-Breedon said. “We don’t believe Malika is a murderer.”
Hickerson-Breedon told The Post that Malika had “loved her mother very much” and had been a “model student” and “model citizen” with no criminal record before the arrest.
Malika's arrest comes just months after Barnard College student Tessa Majors was stabbed to death in a park near the college
After news of her arrest broke, Malika’s friends took to social media using the hashtag #justice4malika to show their support for the 22-year-old.
“Malika is beautiful both inside and out. She’s one of the most kind and caring souls I’ve been lucky enough to meet in my lifetime. I’ve been so grateful to call her a best friend of mine for 8 years now. She’s always been there for me when I needed her all I want to do is hug you right now. Malika is an intelligent and brilliant woman who aspires to be a doctor. I miss you more than words on a caption can say and I love you so much,” Kat Harback wrote in one post on Instagram.
Another friend wrote that “No one has showed me more kindness, or brought out the best in me the way Malika does,” and that the 22-year-old had made her feel like she wasn’t alone in college.
Malika is currently being held at the Union County Jail.
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