Relative of victims in '94 Renton murders never got closure despite charges
Vianne Falcon waited nearly 28 years to see the murderer of her daughter and toddler grandson brought to justice.
- Six months ago, when King County prosecutors charged a California prisoner with the 1994 shooting deaths of Stacy Falcon Dewey and Jacob John Dewey, it looked like Vianne would finally get that chance.
Yes, but: She never did.
- Vianne died two months ago — before local prosecutors ever brought the suspect, now charged in the decades-old cold case, to trial.
The latest: Vianne, whose loved ones' delayed murder investigation was featured in The Seattle Times' 2019 series "In the Dark," died June 4 and never saw suspect Jerome Frank Jones stand trial for Stacy and Jake's killings — even though authorities allegedly linked him to the crimes through DNA two decades ago.
- Jones has yet to enter a plea to the charges.
- Lillian Bradley, Vianne's older sibling, told Axios that her sister fell into a coma after an accidental fall at home in May.
- Vianne didn't regain consciousness and was pronounced dead three weeks later, Bradley said.
Why it matters: As the saying goes, justice delayed is justice denied — and according to Bradley, that adage fits perfectly in this case.
What they're saying: "I'm so upset that she got no closure before she died," Bradley told Axios of her sister. "She left this world without knowing what was going to happen. But this whole thing should've been over and done with a long time ago."
The other side: "If our office caused any additional suffering to Vianna Falcon, we're sorry," a spokesperson for King County prosecuting attorney Dan Satterberg told Axios in an email.
- Complexities with case evidence and information-sharing protocols made it "challenging to strike the right balance between preserving the efficacy of an ongoing investigation and sharing information with the people who have been harmed by the crime," the spokesperson’s email said.
👋 Lewis here: As the author of "In the Dark, I interviewed Vianne Falcon multiple times. I last spoke to her in late February, after a first appearance hearing for Jones set to happen in Kent was canceled amid extradition delays.
- She shared with me then her doubts that a trial would ever happen.
Catch up quick: In 2002, Washington state forensic scientists linked DNA evidence collected from the 1994 crime scene — a dead-end in Renton where the bodies of Stacy, 23, and Jacob, 3, were found outside Stacy's car — to Jones, per the Times' series.
- By then, Jones was serving a prison sentence in California after being convicted of killing a man in that state, records show.
- During a 2002 interview with a detective, Jones denied ever meeting Stacy despite his DNA found on her and her son.
- For years, prosecutors in Washington never charged Jones with the killings, nor did they inform Vianne or other family members they had linked a suspect to the murders.
- In February, prosecutors charged Jones largely based on the same evidence they'd had for years, but they've yet to extradite him to Washington to stand trial.
- Less than four months later, Vianne Falcon — then 74 and in poor health — died.
- King County prosecutors say they've placed a formal hold on him and will seek Jones' extradition once his appeal matter is resolved.
- "Bottom line: this case is very much on our radar, he's not available to us yet, we have a hold on him, and as soon as we can get him back to King County we will so he can be held accountable," the prosecutor's spokesperson said.
Separately, Vianne Falcon's sister isn't holding her breath.
- "We're hurt ... that this didn't get resolved before she passed," Bradley said. "I am a very Christian person. I don't believe in holding grudges … I'm just hoping this gets taken care of, but who knows."
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