Malika Jones (BC ’20) was charged with murder and two weapons counts after her mother was killed in an apparent domestic dispute in their New Jersey home. She was released pending her trial following nearly 40 letters of support from friends, family, and professors.

Updated September 12, 2020, 5:14 PM

At a hearing on March 4, Jones’ defense attorney, Raymond Hamlin, claimed that the accused had a tumultuous relationship with her mother and that Malika “[struggled] with the knife while it was in her mother’s hand when the blade collided with her mom.” Superior Court Judge Lara DiFabrizio then allowed Malika to be released from Union County Jail on March 20 and stay at home for the rest of her trial after receiving thirty-nine letters supporting Malika’s character her family members, classmates, and professors.

In the wake of Malika’s trial, family and friends of the accused created Justice4Malika, a group and fundraising campaign with the goal of ensuring a fair trial for the young woman. The Barnard Organization of Soul Sisters, or B.O.S.S., also offered their support to Malika in an Instagram post on March 16 and cited that our reporting of Malika’s situation defamed her character. Justice4Malika declined to comment on more recent updates to this case.

We at Bwog acknowledge that there were gaps in our original coverage of Malika’s situation, most notably the lack of comment from Malika’s representatives. Before posting the February 25 article, we reached out to Malika’s representatives for a statement. We posted the article after waiting for her representatives’ statement for three days, as we were under the impression that we were not going to receive a statement, and if we did, we would update the post accordingly since this is our usual practice. This was a mistake on our part and we at Bwog deeply apologize for any pain this caused. Since February, we have made updates to our breaking news procedures to ensure it is not a mistake that is repeated in future coverage.

It is important that these stories are told with empathy, respect, and well-roundedness that our original post lacked. We work to improve our coverage and ensure these important priorities shape our policies for every story we write going forward.

Resources and Contact Numbers

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1 (800) 799-7233

Barnard Health Services

Furman Counseling Center (Confidential Resource): (212) 854-2092

Office of Title IX and Equity (Non-Confidential Resource): (212) 853-0772

Columbia Health Services

Counseling and Psychological Services: (212) 854-2878 

Sexual Violence Response: (212) 854-4357

Community Emergency Contacts:

Crisis Text Line Text HOME to 741741

Student of Color Crisis Text Line Text STEVE to 741741

Trevor Project Crisis Text Line (LGBTQ) Text START to 678678Samaritan Help Line Call or Text (877) 870-4673

Our original post is included below.

Prosecutors from the Union County Prosecutor’s Office released a statement on Tuesday (included in full at the end of this post), reporting that police in Rahway, New Jersey responded to reports of a domestic dispute on Sunday, February 16. Malika Jones’ mother, Inell Jones, was pronounced dead at the scene, and Malika Jones was taken into custody. Her first court appearance was scheduled for this past Friday; it is unclear whether she has obtained legal counsel. According to prosecutors, convictions under charges such as these often result in serving up to a life sentence in state prison.

The details around the subject of the argument remain unclear. According to, the two were arguing about “going back to school and [Malika’s] living situation.” Bwog has confirmed via Barnard’s social media that Jones was at one time enrolled at the school as a member of the class of 2020, but could not locate her in the school directory. When asked to confirm her enrollment status, Barnard stated that “in accordance with Federal Privacy Law Barnard College does not disclose student information including enrollment status.” As such, it is currently uncertain whether or not Jones was currently attending Barnard at the time of her arrest.

This is a developing story. Bwog will update this post with information as it is released.

The Union County Prosecutor’s statement:

“A Rahway woman has been arrested and criminally charged with fatally stabbing her mother during the course of a domestic dispute, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo announced Tuesday.

Malika Jones, 22, is charged with first-degree murder and two weapons offenses in connection with the death of 57-year-old Inell Jones.

Shortly after 3 p.m. on Sunday, February 16, members of the Rahway Police Department responded to a home on the 100 block of East Albert Street, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Armando Suarez, who is prosecuting the case.

Arriving officers found the victim at the scene. She was subsequently pronounced dead. The defendant was immediately taken into custody.

A joint investigation by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Task Force, the Rahway Police Department, and the Union County Sheriff’s Office, resulted in charges being filed against the defendant within hours of law enforcement learning of the killing.

Malika Jones was lodged in the Union County Jail pending a first appearance and detention hearing, scheduled to take place in Superior Court.

This investigation remains ongoing, and anyone with information about this matter is urged to contact Task Force Sgt. Danika Ramos at 908-451-7739 or Detective Christopher Scuorzo at 908-472-0492.

Convictions on criminal charges of this nature are commonly punishable by terms of up to life in state prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.”

Update 3:45 PM, 3/1/2020: According to the New York Post, Malika Jones had been on academic leave from Barnard College since the previous spring semester. During this time, she had been taking classes at Borough of Manhattan Community College. The argument with her mother was about her return to school and her living situation. The New York Post also stated that a tenant at the residence had heard the two fighting since 7 AM in the morning. The tenant heard the mother yell that the daughter “cut herself” and needed to go to the hospital and heard dishes breaking in the kitchen. Malika Jones went to the tenant about 20 minutes later, saying that the mother had tried to hurt her. She then called the police at around 3:00 PM, and her mother was pronounced dead at 3:28 PM. She is currently being held at the Union County Jail.

Jones’ legal representative told the New York Post that this is a case of self defense and that Jones “loved her mother very much”. He also stated that “For a young woman that has been a model student, model citizen with no criminal history whatsoever, to just all of the sudden be charged with a first-degree offense without any sort of justification — it’s just not practicable.”

Editors’ Note 2/26/2020, 1:30 pm: This article is being updated with statements and information as we receive it. 

Image via Bwog Archives