Everyone called it the “The Avon Lady Murder.”
Emily Leo was the neighborhood Avon representative in the city of Chester in 1980. She was well-known and well-loved by friends, family, neighbors, and clients. On November 11, 1980, she went to an appointment with a man she thought was Eddie Jones. In fact, she was lured to the home of 16-year-old Anthony Jones.
Shortly thereafter, her bludgeoned and bloodied body was found in a nearby vacant lot… only two blocks from Jones’ house.
That afternoon, a local deliveryman on his route saw a young black male throwing bricks at a trash can in the vacant lot. Looking more closely, he thought he saw a body inside the can. He started yelling and the young man fled the scene. When the police arrived at the scene, they found Emily Leo’s body in the trash can, beaten so severely that police were unable to determine if she was a man or a woman.
She was somehow still alive.
A Crowd Gathers
A crowd quickly gathered at the lot, and in that group of onlookers was Leroy Evans. Young Anthony Jones also soon appeared at the scene and blended into the crowd. The delivery driver looked over and recognized Jones as the person he had seen throwing bricks at the body, and he notified the police. When the police approached, Jones fled two blocks back to his house and locked himself in.
Jones’ First Story
Barbara Jones, Anthony’s mother and one of Emily Leo’s neighborhood clients, eventually arrived to let the police in. Jones’ told them, “I came downstairs and there was a woman in the trash can.” Police arrested for aggravated assault.
Emily Leo died from her injuries.
Anthony Jones was charged with first-degree murder as an adult.
Why the Story Changes
The police were convinced that a second individual had to be involved in the horrible crime. They told Jones and his mother that the State was going to ask for the death penalty, then they offered Jones a deal: in return for telling the police how the murder actually occurred, and, in so doing, giving them another name of someone involved, they would remove the death penalty.
To avoid the death penalty, he gave the police what they wanted.
He told a story that involved Leroy Evans…