Man Who Killed Family Photographer Sentenced to 50 Years

Man Who Killed Family Photographer Sentenced to 50 Years

The murder of 31-year-old Efrem Jones, a photographer who ran a small studio out of his apartment, has sent shockwaves through the community of Decatur and beyond. Jones was tragically gunned down on Christmas Eve in 2021 in a case of mistaken identity after taking family portraits for a local couple.

Jones had recently begun pursuing his passion for photography professionally, offering portrait sessions to families in the area. On that Christmas Eve, Jones had just finished up a session with Jatrevius Jarrett, his girlfriend, their baby, and Jarrett's mother, Kiona Cliff. Shortly after the session, as the family left Jones' studio, they were attacked by several assailants outside the apartment building.

Seeking retaliation for the unprovoked attack, Jarrett and Cliff returned to Jones' studio, assuming he had set them up. When Jones exited the building, Jarrett confronted him and shot him six times, killing him on the spot. However, Decatur Police determined that Jones had nothing to do with the attack. Cliff participated in the attack and acted as the getaway driver. Both were arrested within weeks and charged with Jones' murder.

The senseless killing has left Jones' family and the community grief-stricken. At just 31, Jones was the youngest of two sons and had a bright future ahead as an emerging talent in Decatur's creative scene. His mother, Vanessa Jones, described the excruciating pain of having lost both of her sons in the span of just nine months, after losing her older son to COVID earlier in 2021. “It has destroyed our family. We are not the same and we never will be," she said in court. His father said Efrem loved both photography and life. 

For local photographers, the murder has been a chilling reminder of the potential dangers that come with working alone and inviting clients into their home studios.

At just 19 years old, Jarrett will now spend 50 years in prison. His mother will spend 16 years in prison as well for her role as an accomplice.

Lead image of Macon County Courthouse by Dave Wright, used under Creative Commons.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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America? Guns? 🤷‍♂️