KINGMAN – A Kingman man will go to prison for discarding the body of his teenage son. Jon Imes, 41, pleaded guilty Sept. 13 to abandonment or concealment of a dead body.
Terms of the deal require Judge Billy Sipe to impose at least six months, and as many as two years in prison at an Oct. 13 sentencing hearing.
The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office said Imes and Amber Leah-Valentine, also 41, lied when they reported their son to be missing three days after they had already disposed of his remains early this year. The body of Kenneth Jones, 16, was found wrapped in a blanket where placed behind a block wall in a remote area of Clack Canyon on Feb. 28.
Deputy Mohave County Attorney Amanda Claerhout said the medical examiner ruled Jones’ death to be a homicide, and that significant malnutrition may also have been a factor. Claerhout said investigators have not been able to gather sufficient evidence to charge anyone with Jones’ death.
Following discovery of Jones’ body, authorities removed his abused 14-year-old sister from the Kingman home she shared with her brother, their mother and their mother’s roommates Richard Pounds, 34, and his girlfriend Shioban Gujda, 39.
Pounds awaits sentencing to prison Thursday after pleading guilty to aggravated assault for blinding the girl in one of her eyes while people were “playing BB gun wars’’ inside the residence. Child abuse charges are pending against Gujda, while Leah-Valentine faces charges including child abuse and abandonment of her son’s body.
Leah-Valentine’s attorney Jaimye Ashley complained in late August that her client had not been offered a plea bargain and was being treated unfairly.
“Every step of the way my client has been punished. That is exactly what vindictive prosecution is,” Ashley told Judge Sipe at an Aug. 28 hearing. “The child (daughter) says her mom didn’t do anything.”
Judge Sipe told Ashley that he did not believe Claerhout to have been vindictive and that the state has the freedom to decide if and whom might receive a plea offer to resolve a criminal matter.
Handling the Imes change of plea hearing for Claerhout, deputy county attorney Kenneth Beane answered Sipe’s question regarding what the surviving teenager thinks of the resolution.? “The victim is aware of the plea and understands it, but just wishes that someone would have been charged with her brother’s murder,” Beane said.
Defense attorney Paul Amann said that case co-defendants told Imes that his son had died of a drug overdose. Amann said Imes was under duress when he dumped his son’s body, fearing that his daughter’s life was threatened at the time.