Defense waiting for plea deal in bitcoin murder-for-hire case

Attorneys for the former Loyola University Medical Center nurse accused of using the dark web to hire a hitman to kill her former lover's wife believe they may be receiving a plea deal from prosecutors.

Attorney Stephen Hall said Wednesday he's expecting DuPage County prosecutors to present him with an offer for Jones between now and her next court date on March 22.

"They have said, more than once, that they'll make an offer and they've not yet made an offer," Hall said. "I'm waiting on an offer that may or may never come. Absent that offer, we're slowly proceeding to trial."

DuPage prosecutors do not comment on potential deals.

Hall spoke after a brief hearing during which Judge George Bakalis reaffirmed his earlier ruling to allow several self-incriminating statements Jones is alleged to have made to police during their investigation.

In the original motion, Hall argued that Jones had invoked her right to counsel during an interview with Woodridge police Detective Daniel Murray at the police station and statements made during the interview should not be allowed at trial.

Jones, 32, formerly of the 700 block of River Road in Des Plaines, is charged with four counts of solicitation of murder for hire, two counts of solicitation of murder and attempted first-degree murder.

All charges against Jones are Class X felonies, meaning she will not be eligible for probation if found guilty. She faces a maximum of 40 years in prison if convicted of the most serious offense.

During the investigation, when Murray asked what she had done, Jones said she logged into a dark web site and paid almost $11,000 in bitcoin to have her former lover's wife killed, according to authorities. Jones then asked, "Do I need to get a lawyer or something like that?"

Hall, in his motion, contends that statement invoked Jones' right to counsel.

Bakalis, in his original ruling, stated he does not believe that statement constitutes a request for counsel.

Prosecutors say Jones paid more than $10,000 in bitcoin to the company in January to kill a Woodridge woman who works as a clinical social worker in Naperville.

The Cosa Nostra International Network, however, was deemed to be a scam. The CBS program "48 Hours" discovered the contract between Jones and the website while researching another story and alerted Woodridge police, authorities said.

In her "kill order," officials said, Jones gave the hitman clear instructions to make sure her lover was unharmed and provided a schedule for when he would be at work and when the woman would be alone. She also said to make it look like an accident.

The victim's husband is an anesthesiologist who completed his residency at Loyola and is still based in Maywood. Jones's next court date is scheduled for March 22.

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  Tina Jones walks out of the DuPage County courthouse in Wheaton last spring after pleading not guilty to solicitation of murder and attempted murder. Bev Horne/
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