Man wants to change plea in 24-year-old woman’s murder

Man wants to change plea in 24-year-old woman's murder (Image 1)

A man who previously pled guilty in the murder of a 24-year-old nursing student in Franklin County last summer wants to withdraw his plea.

On February 5, Donnie Jones Jr. pled guilty to first degree murder in Megan Sharpton's death. Weeks later the 37-year-old said he can prove he was at another location at the time of her murder and that he was coerced by his attorney to plead guilty.

Sharpton's badly burned body was found along a roadway in rural Franklin County last July.

The victim's mother, Kelly Sharpton, said finding out Jones was attempting to withdraw his plea was like a punch in the gut.  

“I honestly had the same feeling that I had when I realized that my child was gone. It was just like he murdered her again,” Sharpton said.

She continued, “I have absolutely no doubt this is the man who took my daughter and I have no problem standing toe to toe with him in the courtroom.”

Investigators previously told Nashville's News 2 Jones, 37, lured Megan to a secluded location under the pretense he had an elderly relative with Alzheimer's who needed care.

The Franklin County Sheriff's Office said Jones used a pre-paid phone that he could throw away after the crime.

Jones was familiar with Sharpton, because his wife and she would sometimes carpool to nursing school in Tullahoma together.

“It was planned and premeditated,” said Sharpton's mother, Kelly previously said. “He just was hunting for somebody.”

Jones, who had a prior arrest history for jail escape, burglary, forgery and attempted rape, is expected to appear in court in April.

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