Ballston Spa

Police: Ballston Spa man killed wife, 12-year-old daughter, himself

Fourth suicide of a GlobalFoundaries employee since 2016
Neighbor and friend Tom McKay fixes a reindeer decoration on the lawn of the Jones family on Adams Circle.
Neighbor and friend Tom McKay fixes a reindeer decoration on the lawn of the Jones family on Adams Circle.

Editor’s note: This story was corrected on Dec. 17, 2018. An earlier version included inaccurate spellings of GlobalFoundries and of the last names of both Charles Wilkerson and GlobalFoundries spokesman Jason Gorss. The previous version also incorrectly characterized Wilkerson’s employment at the computer chip manufacturing facility and inaccurately stated that Gorss did not respond to a request for comment. The company’s statement has been added to this version of the story.

BALLSTON SPA — Village police received a disturbing phone call Friday from Steven Jones’ employer — GlobalFoundries in Malta — asking the department to check up on Jones because he hadn’t been to work in several days. 

When police responded to the home at 723 Adams Circle at 1 p.m., they came upon a gruesome scene. Steven Jones, 46, had shot and killed his wife, Jennifer, 43, and daughter, Emma, 12, with “a long gun” before killing himself, village Police Chief Dave Bush said.

Before discovering the bodies, police had knocked on the door but no one answered.

Monday Update: Vigil planned for Ballston Spa 12-year-old killed in double murder-suicide, Dec. 17, 2018

“As officers walked around the residence, looking in the windows to see if anybody was home, they observed [Steven Jones] laying on the floor of the living room,” Bush said. “Officers made forced entry into the residence and found the male, obviously deceased, laying on the floor. As the officers continued to check the residence, they also found a female adult and a female child obviously deceased.”

Bush said officers found Jennifer Jones and Emma Jones both dead from gunshot wounds in separate bedrooms. Autopsies have confirmed all three died from gunshot wounds, and police have determined the deaths were the result of a double murder-suicide committed by Steven Jones. 

Bush said police have possession of the weapon Jones used, but would not provide details about it. He would not comment on whether there were signs of a struggle and did not reveal the apparent time of death of any of the three. He would not comment on whether Steven Jones had any mental health issues, but he did say the Ballston Spa Police Department had not dealt 
with him in the past. Steven Jones’s LinkedIn profile lists him as a process and controls manager at GlobalFoundries.

Bush appeared at a news conference Saturday with New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations Lt. William Williams, and Ballston Spa School District Superintendent Ken Slentz.

Slentz said Emma, a straight A student, had been absent from school on Thursday and Friday and that the school had called her home looking for her, but received no answer. Slentz said the school will have a counseling team in place on Monday and the district will delay school for one hour. 

Bush would not comment on any apparent motive for the crime. He said it has been at least 60 years since his department has dealt with a similar crime. 

This is the second time since 2014 that a GlobalFoundries employee has been named by law enforcement as responsible for the murder of his spouse.  And Jones is at least the fourth GlobalFoundries employee in the Northeast whose death has been ruled a suicide since 2016.

Charles Wilkerson, of Meadow Rue Place in Malta, pleaded guilty in 2015 to strangling his wife of 46 years, Kathleen, on June 1, 2014. Prior to his arrest for killing his wife, Wilkerson worked as a part-time security officer — working for an outside contractor — at the GlobalFoundries computer chip plant. 

Authorities said he lived with his wife’s dead body for several days before police found him. He admitted murdering her in an emotionally disturbed state. 

According to the Brattleboro Reformer newspaper, two men were found dead of “self-inflicted wounds” at the chip manufacturer’s Essex Junction, Vermont,  plant. The first, a man approximately 60 years old, on June 28, 2016, and the second on July 13, 2017.

Heather Goodall, an East Greenbush resident, said her son Michael James Fahrenkopf, 27, a GlobalFoundries employee at the Essex plant, committed suicide by gunshot at his East Greenbush home on June 25, 2016. She said he had shown no signs of depression prior to his suicide, and she believes his suicide may have been connected to his working conditions at the plant. She said he had no history of drug use and there were no drugs found in his system. 

She said she was horrified when she heard about the Steven Jones murder suicide Saturday.  

“I was shaking. I had goosebumps. I couldn’t believe this was happening again with another suicide connected to a GlobalFoundries employee,” she said. “Something is wrong here. There is something going on, people should not ignore this.”

Tom McKay, a neighbor of the Jones family, spoke to Gazette photographer Erica Miller Saturday. Through tears, he told Miller the Jones family was a “kind-hearted, devoted, thoughtful, jovial” family who had moved to the area from New Mexico and sometimes visited his home for holiday events. McKay said his daughter knew Emma since she was a young child, and since learning of the deaths has been quietly staring out the window at the family’s home. 

GlobalFoundries spokesman Jason Gorss said on Monday that the company would not be commenting on the Jones case, beyond a prepared statement:

“Along with the rest of our community, we at GlobalFoundries are shocked and saddened by this incident,” said Gorss, in the prepared statement. “We are not going to comment on an active police investigation, and we are focused on helping our employees with this news and any concerns that they may have. 

“The health and safety of our employees is our top priority. We take all employee issues very seriously. In addition to GlobalFoundries health and welfare benefits, we have an employee assistance program that offers 24/7 counseling on a variety of topics related to mental health and well-being.

“On-site counseling is being made available to our team members to assist in processing this tragedy. Our managers, human resources and health and safety professionals are trained in identifying and responding to employee concerns to help and support all employees through personal difficulties.”

Monday Update: Vigil planned for Ballston Spa 12-year-old killed in double murder-suicide, Dec. 17, 2018


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