Man accused in murder, shooting competent to stand trial

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek
A Dec. 3, 2019 booking photo of William Paul Jones. (Courtesy of the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office)

A Dec. 3, 2019 booking photo of William Paul Jones. (Courtesy of the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office)

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The man accused of killing a hostage near Kalamazoo and then opening fire on police, injuring three of them, was deemed competent to stand trial Wednesday.

Authorities say that William Paul Jones, armed with two guns, broke into Chris Neal’s home on Proctor Avenue near King Highway in Comstock Township around 10:30 p.m. Dec. 1. 

Christopher Neal
An undated photo of Christopher Neal courtesy Facebook.

Deputies previously testified that Jones was among those who called 911 that night, telling dispatchers, “Christopher Neal is dead.” Neal was shot in the back of the head.

Authorities say that when responding, officers heard gunfire, then moved into the house and Jones started shooting. A Kalamazoo public safety officer was shot in the shoulder, a Michigan State Police trooper took a bullet to the leg and a Kalamazoo County sheriff’s deputy was grazed on the head. All three survived.  

Neal’s wife and young daughter were in the house when the break-in happened. They hid and were not hurt.

Jones faces 19 criminal charges: open murder; felony murder; three counts of assault with intent to commit murder; first-degree home invasion; unlawful imprisonment; being a felon in possession of a firearm; being a felon in possession of ammunition; assaulting, resisting and obstructing an officer; and nine counts of felony firearm.

Jones’ probable cause hearing is scheduled for March 18. His preliminary hearing is slated for March 25. 

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