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Barnard Affiliate Charged With Murder

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.

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 nj.com, 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

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47 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Let’s wait for ALL the facts. Domestic disputes are often ugly and involve years of abuse. Also remember that just because the prosecution says something is true doesn’t make it so. They are known to lie like hell.

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    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous #Justice4Innell

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    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous unfortunately some people can’t wait for all the facts. they just want to #justice4malika everywhere. ya’ll weren’t even there when it happened so you don’t even know what went down. wait till we see what court hearing says. hope she has a good lawyer. instead of claiming #justice4malika you should be trying to find the best pro bono lawyer for her investigation not calling up your personal narratives for an evidenced based conclusion. Evidence of mental illness or domestic is important, not stories of her being “smart and beautiful” because that doesn’t prove anything. If you hadn’t forgetten it’s innocent until proven guilty. so help her realistically, the court jury isn’t going know about #justice4malika or the times you spent with her. FACTS

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    3. @Done says:

      @@Done No bueno

  • SadBoi says:

    @SadBoi RIP.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous The mom’s name is Inell not Inez

    1. Isabel Sepúlveda says:

      @Isabel Sepúlveda The article has been updated with this correction. We regret the error.

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Hi! Barnard alumn here —- please take this article down. This is unbelievably disrespectful to the student. Imagining the deep pain and trauma she is likely going through and then to read about this in the school paper. This is so low, edpecially for you all at Bwog. This is not your business, and painting a student to be a “murderer,” when you have no idea about their life or family situation is offensive and shows the ignorance of your staff. Please take this down.

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    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous these are straight up facts there’s no “painting” involved. May the facts be leaning towards a negative portrait of Malika? Yes. But until there’s more information, we don’t know anything about what happened.

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    2. JewishFeminist says:

      @JewishFeminist Agreed. This is a classic instance of racism and fascism. Bwog is exposing its problematic biases. Malika is innocent and the true story will be told. #FreeMalika

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Hi! Barnard alum here —- delete this article immediately. You have no idea how much trauma and pain this woman is going through, and likely trying to at least graduate and get her degree. It is not your business nor is it the entire school’s business to litreally take this horrible trauma she’s dealing with and just spread it to the entire school community without her permission. This shows an unbelievable amount of immaturity at Bwog. And I’m so disappointed in you all for doing this. Please take it down or students will rally.

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    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous What? Bwog is just reporting on what happened— it doesn’t “paint” her in any way, it’s sharing something that happened concerning somebody on this campus. Pretty standard for journalism. Yes, there needs to be more nuance shared about their relationship, but unfortunately, murder is something pretty significant and it isn’t any publications responsibility to ask for permission to share public knowledge. It’s a sad situation and I wish that the investigation is thorough and that justice is properly served, but your comment gets it wrong.

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous You all are disgusting for this article. Delete this!!

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous “prematurely published” — just say you published it when you did because you wanted to be the first to drop this story and you have absolutely no regard for her as a person

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Justice For Malika

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    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous TAKE THIS DOWN YOU UNBELIEVABLY INCONSIDERATE JOKE OF A PUBLICATION. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU. The title of this is astounding. You are spreading biased harmful narratives about a member of your own community without a single shred of respect for her or her friends. Take this down and maybe step back from calling yourself a news publication when you use articles like this to get clicks at the cost of a woman’s life and story.
      #shutdownbwog
      #justice4malika

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    2. Anonymous1 says:

      @Anonymous1 What about justice for Innell

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous It is literal a fact story. It says she was charged with murder which she was. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not newsworthy wtf. They aren’t “painting her as a murderer” she was charged with murder whether she’s guilty or not which is all the article says. You can’t just take down news because you don’t like it.

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Unbelievably irresponsible for you to publish this while ignoring her representatives and failing to include a statement from her family and friends, even after promising to do so. Bwog clearly doesn’t give a damn about dehumanizing and preying upon this person just to be able to be “the first to break the story.” The Barnard community is disgusted with you.

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    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous that’s not even true lol her family and friends declined to give a statement when asked and her reps didnt reach out

    2. Tim Myers says:

      @Tim Myers Again, stfu….

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Learn to write sensitive news. Please respect Malika and learn to respect others as a whole (since you obvious haven’t.) don’t publish until you learn the facts. You’re painting a girl as a murderer just to publish before spec. This is unethical journalism and I would take this article down if I were you and find a new editor in chief who has enough editorial judgement to know when to pub this

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    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous The article sticks to the facts that are known and doesn’t presume anything more. What would be unethical is to not report facts.

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  • Barnard student says:

    @Barnard student Unbelievably irresponsible for you to publish this while ignoring her representatives and failing to include a statement from her family and friends, even after promising to do so. Bwog clearly doesn’t give a damn about dehumanizing and preying upon this person just to be able to be “the first to break the story.” The Barnard community is disgusted with you.

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Can someone please explain the other side to this story and not just the media narrative.

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    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous there’s no information yet and this is just the facts. the story is pending. her court hearing was almost a week ago. this is old news

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous This article is a demonstration of awful journalism, is incredibly disrespectful, and falls into the category of “unauthorized use of a person’s identity”, which Bwog claims to condemn. Should be taken down.

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Can someone explain what’s actually going on and how we can help Malika.

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous While the concerns people are voicing are somewhat understandable, we have an obligation to report events related to this institution. Many of the commenters here are concerned about the context of the crime, but those same commenters would have no qualms with publishing a story of an alleged rapist, even if it were found that the accused had undergone significant trauma. Murder is a heinous act- plain and simple. Context can bring us an understanding of motive but it cannot excuse the crime.

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    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous That’s actually not legally true. Context such as self-defense or mental illness can excuse murder. Context does matter. This isn’t the National Enquirer. This is her community’s news blog. She deserves some context.

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      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Not to nitpick, but mental illness does not “excuse murder”. If the mental illness is severe enough such that an individual could not form the intent or mens rea necessary for murder, then a murder could not have occurred. For non strict liability crimes, all elements of the crime including mens rea must be satisfied. Challenging mental state qualifies as a negative defense because its purpose is to negate one of the elements necessary for the crime to occur.

        On the other hand, self-defense (both perfect and imperfect) is an affirmative defense. The defendant acknowledges that all elements of the crime are satisfied but argues that the circumstances mitigates the consequences of the conduct if the elements of said defense are satisfied. This is more like a justification than an “excuse”.

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    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous That is not legally true. Context such as self-defense or mental illness can excuse murder. This isn’t the National Enquirer or some other external news rag. This is her community’s news blog. She deserves context.

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous “It has since been reposted to include all pertinent information and statements” no it hasn’t when you posted it without including a statement from her representatives, despite giving them your professional word that you would wait. But we all knew bwog was never real journalism anyway.

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    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous that’s not even true lol her family and friends declined to give a statement when asked and her reps didnt reach out

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Now it’s been a week. Still no statement. We’re waiting…

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous What good reason could you possibly have to release this article without a statement from the family of the accused? Why would you ignore this reasonable request, which was made before posting? Ignoring the humanity of Black women is a bad look. Any member of Bwog who does not understand how this does just that should go to the next Barnard BOSS meeting and poll the room. All others should be ashamed of themselves. Pathetic.

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    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous The accused murdered her family so they weren’t available for comment. You are more concerned with bwog for publishing this article than you are for the woman that was killed.

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  • Anonymous1 says:

    @Anonymous1 #Justice4Innell

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Y’all are awful to post this without including any commentary or defense from her, her family, or her legal representation. Publishing an incomplete story just because you wanted to beat Spec with absolutely no regards for the humanity, reputation, or wellbeing of Malika. Publishing a one-sided story that only includes a statement from prosecution while including none of her defense is not just shitty journalism, it makes you shitty people. Also- if your investigation determined she was no longer enrolled in Barnard, what was the point of this article? How is this a campus issue if she was no longer enrolled? I am sure thousands of Columbia alum or Columbia dropouts have committed crimes but does bwog report on those? When will you publish a story about every rich white man that got caught for tax fraud after they graduated from Columbia??? BWOG probably thought breaking this story would give them clout, but all it has shown is the degree of disregard they have for community and journalistic integrity.

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous “Imagine the deep trauma and pain she is going through”
    “biased harmful narrative”

    This is a news story reporting the facts of what police have charged Malika with. If it was a white man charged with murder, would people be wanting to be hearing his side of the story? Innocent until proven guilty is a hallmark of the court system, and no one is determining guilt or innocence here. There are always two sides to a case, and the outcome is for jurors to decide. However, the facts of what is currently happening do not change: there was an argument, a woman died, and police have charged a suspect with murder.

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous How can you call yourself student news when you erase her narrative. You not only had the chance to publish words from her representatives, but the professional responsibility. You gave your word to publish her side and you broke that promise. Bwog is a rag.

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous This is fucked

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Delete this article.

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous This is a tragedy. The mother wanted everything for Malika. Malika was given the opportunity to obtain an education. This is a wonderful young lady that was full of life. She needs prayers and guidance at this time. I’m not sure if they had family.

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  • Karissa says:

    @Karissa Wow hard to believe that there are so many open racists in the comments here calling for Bwog to cover up the murder of a black woman. Crime against black women is systematically underreported by media organizations and yet the commenters here want to encourage that trend, rather than to fix it. smdh

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  • @Done says:

    @@Done More negative press for Barnard. Way to go!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Thank you Bwog for covering this story promptly and objectively. I just read Spec’s coverage of the story which was extremely biased and self-congratulatory; instead of covering the facts plain and simple, they essentially criticized other publications as racist for just doing their jobs while implicitly congratulating themselves for being the most woke. Reporting the facts alone is *not* racist. It is the whole point of journalism.

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