Virginia man charged in ex-wife’s killing has past history of abuse, investigators say

Nearly a week after Kaitlin Jones, a mother of three, was found killed in Frederick County, Maryland, investigators share the timeline of how they traced the evidence back to charge her ex-husband, who has a history of abuse.

Frederick County, Virginia, Sheriff Lenny Millholland told WTOP that around 3:30 a.m. last Saturday, a woman called 911 reporting a car was on fire on Woodsmill Road in Winchester.

Shortly after his deputies traced the burning Buick’s plates back to 31-year-old Lemuel Roberts, Millholland said detectives got a call from deputies in Frederick County, Maryland, who said they had just found the body of Roberts’ ex-wife.

Investigators point out that it is about an hour’s drive from Frederick County, Virginia, to Frederick County, Maryland.

Kaitlin Jones, 31, was the mother of three children. Family friends confirm Roberts was the father of the younger two. (Courtesy Jack Taylor)

Sources told WTOP they believe the 31-year-old woman was killed around midnight. Her body was discovered at 2 a.m. Then, her ex-husband’s car was found burning an hour and a half later.

Roberts had recently broken probation for a drug offense and had an outstanding warrant. Arrest records show deputies went to his Winchester home and took him into custody at 4 p.m.

On Sunday, the warrant came through from Maryland for first-degree murder and was served to Roberts at the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center.

Family friend Debra Malott wrote in a GoFundMe campaign for Jones’ memorial that the mother leaves behind three young children, who are ages 5, 3 and 2. Investigators confirmed that Roberts is the father of the younger two kids.

Court records show that Jones did not have a protective order against her ex-husband. In the year leading up to Jones’ killing, Millholland’s deputies responded a dozen times to the Winchester home she shared with Roberts.

None of those calls resulted in an arrest because there were no signs of abuse, and no one wanted to lay blame, Millholand said. Four of the calls came during the three days after Roberts was released from jail on bond Nov. 7.

Court records show Roberts pleaded guilty to assault and battery in 2011, and was on probation for 2010 assault and battery and abduction charges, which sources said are connected to one of Roberts’ previous relationships, not with Jones.

Roberts waived his right to a hearing in Virginia on the warrant out of Maryland and is expected to be extradited in the coming days.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up