Left to right - Toni Miller, Tariana Jones, Matthew McKinney, Kristofer Jones and Hayden Ranson. Photo / WTA
The four murderers of Featherston man Glen Jones will spend
at least 17 years in prison before the possibility of
Justice Alan MacKenzie, in the High Court at Wellington this
morning, sentenced Tariana Jones, Matthew McKinney,
Kristopher Jones, and Hayden Ranson to mandatory sentences of
life imprisonment, with a minimum non-parole period of 17
He sentenced them to 10 years' jail for aggravated burglary,
to be served concurrently.
A co-accused, Toni Miller, who waited on the street while the
murder took place, was also guilty of aggravated burglary.
She was sentenced to eight years' jail.
Mr Jones, 40, died in hospital from massive head injuries
after a brutal attack in his Featherston home on January 12
last year. The supermarket worker was fatally bashed in
retaliation for an alleged rape, based on unsubstantiated
Justice MacKenzie said they not only took the life of Glen
Jones, but also his reputation by falsely accusing him of
"You took it upon yourselves to take vigilante action. That
is never acceptable."
He described it as a "mindless mob mentality" to inflict a
"savage and brutal beating by hitting him with the weapons
and kicking him".
Mr Jones suffered over 30 separate injuries, fracturing his
skull and causing bruising and swelling of the brain.
"He was completely defenceless and taken by surprise,"
Justice MacKenzie said.
"After your horrific and frenzied attack, you left the flat,
and ran off.
"The effect on Mr Jones' family has been profound. His mother
gave evidence at your trial. The depth of her grief was very
apparent in the witness box.
"You all aided and encouraged each other ... each of you four
are responsible for the murder."
The court heard mitigating circumstances from the defendants'
counsels, including they were genuinely remorseful, full of
regret, and heavily intoxicated.
Earlier in a victim impact statement, Mr Jones' brother Brent
told the court that the moment he found out about the murder,
it was like "a big knife in our hearts".
Glen Jones suffered from learning disabilities and a number
of childhood ailments, including being weak in his right side
of his body and almost blind in his right eye, he said.
"He was the most loved and cherished member of our family, a
very kind and gentle man who would only ever see the best in
people. He was a loving, caring, honest and harmless man who
struggled throughout his life to complete the simplest things
that we all take for granted."
He choked back tears as he explained that hearing the false
accusations that his brother was a rapist during the trial
was "the worst moment of our lives".
"I'm still shocked and angry that, 16 and a half months ago,
they decided over a bottle of tequila and a few beers that
they would be judge, jury and executioner.
"When we found out what happened to Glen, it was like someone
had put a big knife in our hearts. I was on the beach in
Australia with my family, having a great time ... and the
next moment I was in a whole world of pain. This pain is with
us always . . . we struggle daily with it.
"Sitting in court and hearing Glen being called a rapist over
and over again ... was totally unbearable. We couldn't get up
and shout that he was never a rapist. It was so hard hearing
evidence, just awful.
"His last moments were filled with fear, totally alone and
without any of us there to help him. We will never get over
"Glen has been senselessly and violently ripped out of our
lives ... they should be disgusted with themselves.
"I hope now at least Mum and Dad will have some form of
peace. For me, it won't change a thing. Glen is gone. I will
always be sad, always feel angry, and feel guilty when I am
Family members of the defendants cried out "Love you cousins"
as they were led away.
Outside court, Detective Inspector Sean Hansen said he was
"comfortable'' with the sentences.
"The lengthy sentences that have been imposed today should
send a clear message that acts of vigilante justice will not,
and should not, be tolerated in our communities.
"The reality in this case is that nothing brings Glen back.
His family continue to grieve ... The sad reality of today is
that most of the defendants involved are parents themselves.
They have now deprived their children for many, many years to
Brent Jones thanked the members of the justice system,
including police, Justice MacKenzie and Victim Support.
He said the family would not be taking further questions.
- By Derek Cheng of APNZ