On Tuesday, a Colorado man, Lester Ralph Jones, 65, was convicted and sentenced, on charges of kidnapping and murder, stemming from the death of Paige Birgfeld, that took place in 2007. Birgfeld was a single mother of three, who had a secret life. She was both a soccer mom and also operated a business as a paid escort. Jones was sentenced by a judge to life in prison after the jury came back with a guilty verdict.
According to ABC News, this was the second time Jones has been on trial for the murder of Paige Birgfeld. The Coloradoan reported that, in September, the first legal proceeding was declared a mistrial because jurors were unable to reach a verdict that was unanimous.
The Denver Post reported that Mesa County sheriff’s spokeswoman Megan Terlecky said, Jones was charged with second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In addition, Jones was convicted of second-degree kidnapping. He was sentenced to three years of parole and 12 years in prison for the kidnapping charge.
When Birgfeld was kidnapped in 2007, she was 34 years old. Her friends said she loved her children and was devoted to all three of them. They went on to say that she operated numerous businesses in an effort to support her children.
During the first trial in September, Jess Dixon, who is Birgfeld’s 17-year-old daughter, gave testimony that her mother was a soccer mom. Dixon said that her mother did normal motherly things such as taking her, along with her two brothers, to school and to their games. She said her mother had even let them all sleep with her in her bed.
Paige Birgfeld had another side to her life, though, as a paid escort. After she disappeared, investigators discovered details of her escort business. They discovered that Jones had been one of her clients. Before she seemed to vanish off the face of the earth, he had been one of the last few people who called her.
During the second trial, lawyers who represented Jones, argued that no physical evidence existed that would tie him to Birgfeld’s death. His lawyers went on to suggest that a man who had died in 2011 could have been responsible for killing Birgfeld. They also pointed out that some evidence in the case was missing or lost.
The prosecution put detectives on the witness stand who testified that they had ruled out the who died in 2011 as well as seven other men. The others they were referring to included Birgfeld’s ex-husband and six other clients.
Jones’ lawyers admitted that he had given conflicting statements to investigators, like at first denying he knew Birgfeld and later stating he had paid her to give him a massage. His lawyers said the reason he had lied was because he wanted to hide his indiscretions from his wife.
Three days after the disappearance of Paige Birgfeld, her car was found. It was on fire in a parking lot near Jones’ workplace. Birgfeld’s body was not found until 2012. Her skeletal remains were discovered in a western Colorado gully. They were partially buried.
On Tuesday, a judge sentenced Lester Ralph Jones, 65, to life in prison for the 2007 death of Paige Birgfeld, a soccer mom who led a double life as a paid escort. Birgfeld’s remains were found by a hiker in the Wells Gulch area of Delta County, on March 6, 2012. Jones was not arrested for the murder of Birgfeld until November 2014. Jones has had numerous past convictions, including a five-year prison sentence stemming from first-degree assault and second-degree attempted kidnapping charges.
By John Samuels
Photo Courtesy Mesa County Sheriff