In a strange twist of events, Staten Island police now say Leisa Jones, 33, may have used a straight edge razor to slit the throats of her three oldest children before setting her Port Richmond apartment ablaze early Thursday.
Police initially believed C.J. Jones, Leisa Jones' troubled 14-year-old son, slashed the throats of his two sisters - Brittany, 10, and Melony, 7 - before torching the second floor walk up and cutting his own throat.
But new evidence points to a different suspect -- the children's mother.
According to the NY Daily News, investigators are awaiting toxicology reports on 25 undigested pills found in C.J.'s stomach "to see if mom doped any of the kids to make it easier for her to slit their throats."
C.J. was kicked out of a nearby park for setting a fire on Thursday. And neighbors said they saw C.J. setting small fires in front of his apartment building in the hours before the 3 alarm blaze.
Still, investigators don't believe the teen's infatuation with fire is enough to explain the brutal mass murder, another source said.
"Cutting people's throats is usually something a psychotic grows into," the source said. "And so far no one has reported he tortured animals or other kids or his brothers and sisters - so it's a puzzle." [link]
The murder weapon was found under C.J.'s body where police originally believed he dropped it after slitting his throat. Fire fighters say C.J. was found in a back bedroom slumped over on a bed in a sort of "suicide hari kari" sitting position.
A charred "confession" note with the words "am sorry" was fused to a melted metal Butane lighter in the mother's bedroom.
Investigators have tentatively matched the handwriting on the note to samples of Leisa Jones' known penmanship. Leisa Jones' body was found "in a crawling position" in the living room not far from the bodies of her three youngest children. Police say her body was positioned as if she was trying to get away from an assailant or the fire.
Jones' 2-year-old son, Jermaine Sinclair, Jr. was the only child pulled out of the burning apartment alive. He was found near the front door where the fire had been set to prevent anyone from leaving or entering the apartment.
Jermaine later died at a hospital from smoke inhalation and third degree thermal burns. His body was so badly burned that fire fighters on the scene couldn't initially determine his gender.