Crime

Former missionary admits killing Coast mom, her unborn child. He was high on opioids.

By the numbers: The opioid crisis in America

Opioid addiction is a fast-growing problem in Missouri and across the country. Here is a look at some alarming statistics. Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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Opioid addiction is a fast-growing problem in Missouri and across the country. Here is a look at some alarming statistics. Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

An electrician and former missionary in Honduras doesn’t remember the day he beat and stabbed to death a pregnant Vancleave mother because he was high on drugs.

Brandon Colby Smith, 36, of Moss Point, said he only remembers calling the victim, Elizabeth Corene “C.C.” Jones, 30, about buying some drugs the evening of the Jan. 7, 2017, killing in Jackson County.

Smith made those statements and more when he admitted killing Jones and her unborn child after spending days shooting up Opana, a prescription painkiller that contains oxymorphone, a semi-synthetic opioid analgesic.

Jones and her unborn child died at her home on Ridgeland Road in Vancleave, where she was living with her boyfriend and her four children, then ages 13 months to 13 years. Though the children were home at the time of the killings, Sheriff Mike Ezell said they did not witness the crimes.

On Monday, Smith pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for the crimes. In exchange for his plea, the District Attorney’s Office did not prosecute him on an additional murder charge and recommended he get credit for the 21 months he had already served in jail since his arrest.

Gautier police first arrested Smith on charges of public drunk and possession of drug paraphernalia after finding him asleep in his car.

Elizabeth Jones
Elizabeth Jones


Smith said he was connected to the crimes after investigators found “C.C.’s” blood in his car and on his clothing along with the woman’s shoes.

“I honestly don’t remember anything about that evening,” Smith said. “I only want to bring closure to her family the best way I can. I pray they can forgive me.”

Judge Dale Harkey sentenced Smith to 40 years in prison, with 30 years to serve without the possibility of parole or early release, followed by 10 years of post-release supervision. In addition, he was fined $5,000 and ordered to pay $250 to the Crime Victims Compensation Fund.

At the time of her death, a friend described Jones as someone with “a great personality” who was loved very much by her family and friends.

Jones was a 2004 graduate of Vancleave High School.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and Gautier police investigated the case.

Margaret Baker is an investigative reporter whose search for truth exposed corrupt sheriffs, a police chief and various jailers and led to the first prosecution of a federal hate crime for the murder of a transgendered person. She worked on the Sun Herald’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Hurricane Katrina team. When she pursues a big story, she is relentless.
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