Leader of JBM Gets Life, The Philadelphia Inquirer declared on September 16, 1992. Aaron Jones was sentenced to life in prison on charges of conspiring to distribute 100 million dollars worth of cocaine in Philadelphia between 1985 and 1991. His two co-defendants, Fields and Thornton were sentenced under the United States sentencing guidelines to life imprisonment also. The U.S. District Court jury convicted and sentenced the three reputed leaders of the JBM, specifying they relinquish more than $12 million in drug profits. Defendants Price, Cobb, Jackson, Darrell Reaves and Long were each sentenced to 360months imprisonment. Williams was sentenced to 292 months. Reginald Reaves and Mark Casey were sentenced to life. Other members in the conspiracy like Derrick Williams pled guilty and received sentences of 10 years and up.
“There’s no pension plan for players in the game.” Aaron said. “One or two might fall through the cracks but the hard truth is you will either come in or go under.” Aaron seemed resigned to his fate. But by holding true he became a legend. “I take solace in the fact that all the comrades I broke bread with remained true,” Aaron said, saluting his co-defendants. “Aaron was good at picking his crew,” Derrick Williams said. “The reason I say he was good at choosing members is because he had 26 co-defendants and not one told, no one cooperated with the prosecution. He was real good at judging character.”
About his other co-defendants Derrick said, “Every individual said I’m not going to be a rat, it’s all mental, if you go into a situation and you understand that for every mistake there are consequences and if you are a man, you can accept that. Some people fake it but when the time comes for that pressure they do something else. It is rare that 26 people get indicted and nobody flips.” And that’s true but Aarons’ troubles were far from over. The fed case was just an uppercut to knock him off balance. Everybody knows the feds play dirty and the knockout blow was still to come.
In January 1993, Aaron Jones was convicted of first degree murder and criminal conspiracy in connection with the August 18, 1990 shooting death of Bruce Kennedy. Jury Convict Three in Drug Gang Slaying, The Philadelphia Inquirer headline read on January 21, 1993. Aaron and two associates, Sam “Black Sam” Brown and James Anderson, were convicted of first degree murder in what prosecutors called the assassination of Bruce Kennedy in West Philadelphia. Assistant District Attorney Joel Rosen said the killing of Bruce Kennedy in August 1990 was an organized hit related to drug dealing by the JBM and their ever-warring factions. The night before the slaying Jones, who was in prison at the time, conspired with Black Sam who ordered two hitmen, James Anderson 20, and Chris Anderson 21, to carry out the murder contract. The gunmen, who were not related, shot Kennedy 26, more than a dozen times as he was cooking a steak sandwich inside Mommies Market on 54th Street near Master. James Anderson stood over Kennedy and fired three bullets into his head and all over his body, according to testimony. Chris Anderson testified against the threesome.
Aaron was accused of orchestrating the murder of Bruce Kennedy to avenge the death of Leroy Davis another high-ranking member of the JBM, who was believed by the organization to have been murdered by Aaron’s federal co-defendant Bryan “Moochie” Thornton. Thornton was in prison at the time, so Aaron and his co-defendants were accused of plotting to kill Thornton’s cousin, in order to send a message to Moochie that killing a fellow member is unacceptable. Aaron allegedly put the plan together along with arranging for the get away car and cash. Aaron was already in prison serving a federal life sentence for running a continuing criminal enterprise for his leadership role in the Junior Black Mafia. James Anderson and “Black Sam” Brown were sentenced to life in prison for the murder while Jones as the orchestrator received the death penalty.
“My federal drug case and murder case is nothing but word of mouth from a bunch of frogs (snitches) trying to find a way out. So who is the top prize, me.” Aaron said. “In Philly I like to call them frogs- they leap into bed with the feds. Conspiring with them, telling infinite lies and ad-libbing as they go along mixing up half truths to make themselves sound believable. There was no other evidence in either case just hearsay evidence. I have no faith for justice in the judicial or should I say political system.” Throughout Aaron’s several court cases he and his lawyer proclaimed racial discrimination and improprieties as well as his innocence in his capital murder case. Through hearsay, snitch testimony, street informants, exaggerations and out and out lies, Aaron said that he was personified to represent what ills society- drugs and violence.
“Aaron Jones got the death penalty because he was a black man,” James Cole said. “Nothing else. Race played a part in him winding up on death row. I’ll tell you like this, Aaron was sentenced to the death penalty for the murder of Bruce Kennedy. They alleged Aaron gave an order to two JBM members to kill Bruce. He is on death row because of word of mouth. Rodney “Frog” Carson told the government that somebody told him Aaron gave the order to wipeout Bruce, because he was the cousin of another JBM member, Moochie.” And James Cole had his own music to face.
JBM Connect Gets Life in Coke Case, He’s Fifth in Gang to Receive Life Sentence, The Philadelphia Daily News headline read on February 19, 1994. After being caught as a fugitive after 30 months on the lam, Cole 40, was tried, convicted and sentenced to life in the feds for trafficking in cocaine. “There wasn’t any evidence in this case,” Cole said. “The DEA was lucky to get a fellow who lived in Harlem, NY who was a drug addict, to come to court and implicate me. The DEA paid him $17,000. The reason I say the DEA got lucky is because nobody in Philly would do that. Our case had two grand juries. The first grand jury wouldn’t indict. The DEA got Sutton to implicate us. We don’t know him.” And just like the Jones trial there were allegations of improprieties but the charges against James Cole stuck.
Being a victim of the snitch system, Aaron knew how the game worked. “Frog” Carson snitched on him, Chris Anderson and more. Some just made up outright lies to save their own asses, playing on Aaron’s notoriety. Even his own brother-in-law, the FBI agent turned on him and was key in putting him away. For most who get in the game it’s only about the glory. They have no guts and when it comes time to pay the piper they can’t handle the pressure. So they break weak and flip on their comrades. But not Aaron. He was ready to stare down certain death, even at the hands of the state’s hired assassins, government sanctioned execution and all.
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