A gay Atlanta man was robbed and beaten to death with his body left in an abandoned home in south Fulton County after he borrowed his partner's car to run an errand at a nearby Walmart.
Union City police found the body of Lester Roy Jones (photo), 44, a week after his partner Patrick McDonald reported him missing. McDonald gave Jones his Nissan Maxima and ATM card to run the errand on Sept. 1; he reported Jones missing when he didn't return to their Union City home.
"I knew something happened to him. He doesn't go anywhere for any length of time," McDonald said. "He didn't like going outside or leaving the house."
Police found Jones' body on Friday in an abandoned house off Cotter Drive, not far from the Walmart on Jonesboro Road and the Union City home they moved into about a year ago. Union City police said in a brief Facebook post that his death has been ruled a homicide and that "multiple persons of interest" have been arrested.
The arrests came after surveillance cameras recorded three men – one wearing a surgical mask – trying to use McDonald's stolen debit card at an ATM in Union City. McDonald's car was found in Chicago after police there chased it and the driver crashed – totaling the only means of transportation for McDonald. Several people were taken into custody after the crash, according to 11 Alive and WSB.
Police have not identified the suspects in the case. We've reached out to the Union City Police Department and the Fulton District Attorney's Office and will update the post if they respond.
McDonald said the men likely attacked Jones to steal the one item he valued most – his grandmother's ring. Jones was raised by his grandmother, who died three or four years ago.
"They beat him to death is what they did. He had one item on him – his grandmother's ring and that's probably what caused the whole incident and he wasn't going to give up his grandmothers' ring," McDonald said.
"They beat him to death and left him in an abandoned house. They beat him. These people need to go away for a very, very, very long time and not get out as far as I'm concerned," he added.
McDonald described Jones – his partner of more than four years and friend for a decade – as a kind and giving person. Jones has struggled with injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder for years since being shot in the hip during a home invasion robbery as a teenager, so he's quick to help others in need, McDonald said.
"He understood how something could happen and change things for people, so he was willing to do anything for someone," McDonald said.
McDonald created a Go Fund Me campaign on Friday to help raise funds for Jones' funeral. Some 12 people have donated $465 of its $15,000 goal.
A private memorial service is being planned to bury Jones next to his grandmother in Picayune, Miss., McDonald said.
"He was the nicest person in the world. He would give you the shirt off of his back. I mean he would go out of his way to help somebody," McDonald said.