The home invasion of the University’s chapter of the Phi Rho Sigma medical fraternity on North Ingalls Street was meant to be quiet and fast, in and out and leave hardly a trace. Instead, University medical student Paul DeWolf was killed in the early morning hours of July 24 after three men who were attempting to steal from the house entered his room. He was found dead the next day by a co-worker.
In separate interviews with Ann Arbor police, Joei Jordan, 20, and Shaquille Jones, 21, said they had entered the fraternity house on July 24 along with Dajeon Franklin, 21, to steal goods they would later resell for profit.
The plan had worked in other home invasions, leaving bewildered residents with no idea who had taken their belongings.
During a preliminary hearing held Friday at Ann Arbor’s 15th District Court, Judge Joseph Burke decided Jones and Jordan would face trial for open murder and multiple counts related to home invasions at the fraternity house and the neighboring residence. During the hearing, David Goldstein represented Jordan and James Fifelski represented Jones. Blaine Longsworth, assistant Washtenaw County prosecutor, called all witnesses to the stand and presented evidence. The defense also questioned witnesses but did not call any of their own, a common practice in preliminary hearings.
Over the course of six hours, testimonies from a total of 16 witnesses were heard, along with partial recordings of the separate police interviews with Jordan and Jones.
Just before the killing, Jordan had allegedly taken a MacBook Air and some other items from a house next door to the Phi Rho Sigma house. While one resident said she heard a sound at about midnight, the crime wasn’t discovered until the following afternoon. A single fingerprint on the windowsill of the next-door house was later matched to Jordan by a Michigan State Police laboratory.
In the middle of the night, Jordan entered the fraternity house through a window, and Jones and Franklin then entered through a door on a staircase landing between the first floor and the basement. While their exact movements in the house are unclear, the three eventually reached the basement. A PlayStation 3 located in a basement common room was taken and Ypsilanti resident Patrick Davis testified he paid Jordan $75 for the device after the robbery.
Franklin “religiously” carried a pistol, according to the interview with Jones, and both said they knew Franklin was armed during the home invasion. Jordan also said he had seen people moving about in the house before entering.
According to the interview recordings, the three entered DeWolf’s dark basement room and shut the door behind them. DeWolf, who was apparently awakened from sleep, arose and asked who was there. While the exact sequence of quickly moving events in that darkened room will probably never be known completely, Jordan and Jones said they were both frozen in place as Franklin drew his gun.
Jordan said he then reopened the shut door to bring light into the room and both said Dewolf was startled after seeing three unknown people in his room. Dewolf moved toward Franklin, who then shot him point blank in the neck. Jordan and Jones both said Franklin’s gun accidentally discharged after he tried to strike DeWolf with his gun. However, both admitted that it was extremely difficult to see in the dark room.
Jordan told police the shooting was unintentional. As they were fleeing, Jones said he asked Franklin, “Why the fuck did you shoot him?”
Jeff Jentzen, Washtenaw County medical examiner, said the bullet wound was consistent with a contact wound, in which a gun is pressed up directly against skin. He testified the bullet traveled down the left side of DeWolf’s body, completely cutting his jugular vein and partially severing his carotid artery. It exited out of his back and ended up in the mattress.
After the killing, the three men quickly left the house and went to their vehicle, which was parked near Main Street.
“I ran out so fast I didn’t see him fall,” Jones said. “I heard him scream.”
Defense attorneys for both Jordan and Jones claimed the killing couldn’t be expected.
Burke, the presiding judge, disagreed, saying the presence of a gun and three men in a crowded house was inherently dangerous.
The trial date for Jordan and Jones is set for Jan. 29 at 1:30 p.m.