Murder victim's voice on 911 call chills courtroom

Published: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 12:56 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 12:56 p.m.

The room was quiet Tuesday as the court listened to the last words of Paul Quandt.


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On the 911 tape, the 78-year-old disabled veteran moaned in pain as he answered his next-door neighbor's questions.

"What did they take?" she asked him.

"Everything," he said.

Quandt's Blues Creek neighbor Virginia Grisson testified at the Alachua County Criminal Courthouse that on Jan. 9, 2012, she heard her doorbell ring at around 11:30 p.m. She peeped through the blinds and saw an unrecognizable man on a scooter saying, "It's Paul, it's Paul."

When Grisson turned on the light, she was shocked to find her neighbor on his scooter so covered in blood from head to toe that you couldn't tell what race he was, she said.

"His entire left side looked like raw meat," Grisson said. "He was in unbelievably terrible condition."

As she called 911, Quandt's neighbor said he told her some of what had happened that night. Quandt said a man and a woman had left him for dead, Tasered him several times and taken things out of his safe, telling him they would return if they could not get money out of his bank accounts.

"Look what they did to me," Grisson remembered he said. "They're coming back. I need help."

As the 911 recording came to an end, the Jones family and Quandt family each hung their heads and wiped their eyes. Across the room, the man accused of beating Quandt to death, Austin Jones, 24, looked down and bit his lip.

Quandt would die a week later from the injuries he received after Jones and his cousin, Maranda Martin, broke into Quandt's Blues Creek home and brutally beat, stabbed and shot him with a stun gun, prosecutors said. Assistant State Attorney Brian Kramer said the pair took Quandt's valuables, packed them into his car and drove off.

Kramer said officers later spotted Jones in Quandt's car and pursued him, reaching speeds of up to 115 mph on U.S. 441. After a chase, Jones collided with two other cars on 13th Street, Kramer said.

Jones faces 10 charges, including first-degree murder, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, vehicle theft and fleeing from officers. Maranda Martin was convicted by a jury and sentenced last year to two consecutive life terms in prison.

State Attorney Bill Cervone and prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Jones, said Darry Lloyd, a spokesman for the State Attorney's Office.

Most of the testimony on Tuesday consisted of law enforcement officers who responded to the scene when Jones crashed into two other cars after the high-speed chase.

In a video shown at the trial, Kramer said, Jones can be seen exiting a subdivision complex near Blues Creek driving Quandt's white Cadillac. Officers began chasing him southbound on U.S. 441, where he accelerated to speeds between 100 and 110 mph.

Jones then hit two vehicles near the 500 block of Southwest 13th Street. Gainesville Police officers then pulled Jones out of the car and onto the ground to handcuff him.

Officer Bernard Exavier told the court that when he arrived at the scene, he checked that the people in the other vehicles involved in the accident were OK and then focused his attention on Jones. As Exavier grabbed Jones' legs, he said he heard a metal clink and saw a loaded gun on the ground where Jones had been.

GPD Detective Martin Honeycutt said when he went to UF Health Shands Hospital, where Jones was in a coma from injuries he received from crashing into the two vehicles, Honeycutt took photos of Jones' hands and knuckles, which appeared to be swollen and had red scratch marks.

At that time, Quandt was also at Shands on life support.

Kramer then called to the witness stand GPD detectives who interviewed Maranda Martin.

Detective Joseph Mayo said that Internet searches on Martin's phone included searches for gold buyers in Georgia and information about a surveillance camera in Quandt's home. He also testified that Martin had been planning the robbery for several months in her diary.

Kramer also showed the jury the clothing, shoes and gloves Jones had on when he crashed, which were still stained with Quandt's blood.

Detective Randall Roberts said he and Mayo interviewed Martin for about seven hours starting at around 11:45 a.m. the day after Quandt's beating. During that time, he said he did not notice any blood on her hands, fingernails or clothing.

Chief Assistant Public Defender Al Chipperfield made note in his cross examination of Roberts that Martin was interviewed and photographed 12 hours after the offense, after she had gone to several other locations. Roberts also told the court that neither the shoes that officials believe Martin was wearing during Quandt's beating nor the money she stole from his bank accounts were ever found.

Prosecutors said Martin's mother, who is also Jones' aunt, will be called as a state witness Wednesday. The trial, which is expected to continue through Friday, will start again Wednesday at 9 a.m.

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