Harris County inmate convicted of killing HPD Sgt. Bruno Soboleski in 1991 no longer on death row

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Friday, December 9, 2022
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HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- After the Harris County District Attorney's Office was unsuccessful in a punishment retrial, a Harris County death row inmate convicted of killing a Houston police officer more than 30 years ago is facing a different sentence.

District Attorney Kim Ogg announced that Shelton Jones took a plea deal and will now be sentenced to life in prison.

The Houston Police Department said on April 7, 1991, Jones shot Sgt. Bruno Soboleski three times in the chest during a pat-down on Houston's south side. He died in a hospital five days later.

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Jones was sentenced to death for the killing, but a federal district court overturned his sentence in light of bad jury instructions.

For years, the case went through various courts of appeals, but in 2019, it was returned to Harris County.

The district attorney's office said it was committed to re-trying the punishment phase of the death penalty trial, but more than a dozen witnesses have died or been declared incompetent since the original trial.

Instead of going back to trial for capital murder, Jones pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery for an armed robbery he committed and for which he was never convicted.

The HCDAO said he also agreed that he used a deadly weapon during that crime, which prohibits him from being eligible for parole for 30 years.

In the plea deal, Jones agreed to never try to appeal the sentence or seek a pardon. If he does, HCDAO said he can be re-tried for capital murder.

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