U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Minnesota
(612) 664-5600
October 30, 2015

White Earth Man Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison for Murder

United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger today announced the sentencing of CHARLES JAMES JONES, 50, to 27 years in prison. JONES was convicted by a jury on March 10, 2015, after a seven-day trial, of burning his girlfriend alive while she was unconscious. JONES was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in St. Paul by U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson.

As proven at trial, in December 2013, JONES and his girlfriend, Shalonda Clark, were huddled in the living room of their home in Ponsford, Minn., trying to stay warm from the heat of the oven. Clark became unconscious and laid immobile on a couch in the living room. At that time, JONES took a blanket, lit it on fire, and threw it on top of Shalonda Clark’s defenseless body.

As proven at trial, Shalonda Clark never regained consciousness to escape the blaze. JONES however, fled the burning house to another house across the road. Though his neighbors, who could clearly see the burning house across the road, asked JONES where Shalonda Clark was, he told them that he did not know. Nonetheless, the neighbors went to the defendant’s home to look for Shalonda Clark. JONES did not help them, nor did he tell them where in the house she could be found. Clark’s charred remains were later recovered from among the ashes of the couch.

This case was the result of an investigation conducted by the Becker County Sheriff’s Office, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the FBI and the White Earth Police Department.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kevin S. Ueland and Julie E. Allyn of the Major Crimes Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Defendant Information:


Ponsford, Minn.


  • Murder in the Second Degree, 1 count


  • 27 years in prison
  • Five years’ supervised release
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