What kind of a person, beats an elderly man nearly to death?
That is what police are still trying to figure out more than 20 years after 81-year-old Julius Jones was found incoherent, lying in a pool of blood in his South Bend home.
The case is being worked on by detectives at St. Joseph County Metro Homicide. This year alone, they have solved two old murder cases and have made progress on four others. They hope to one day close the book on this case as well.
Julius Jones was born in 1909. He lived though the roaring 20s, the Great Depression, major wars, the Civil Rights movement and was even hit by a train.
"I don't think he saw the train," explains Leon Jones, his son, "and it just hit him and drug him in his car. He survived it. We went to the hospital and saw him. He survived it."
But years later, in 1990, Julius Jones, then an 81-year-old father of nine, did not survive a brutal attack in his own home.
"I saw him the first week of September, right after I got married. Just drove down to see him. Took him some pictures, and he gave me some wedding gifts," describes Leon. "That is the last time I saw him alive."
Leon only has one photograph of his father. It was taken in the 1920's, and it is how he wants to remember his father, young and full of life..
"Very happy, go lucky. A happy, go lucky guy," says Leon. "You could look at his face and see. I don't think he really had any regrets. My father lived a really good life. He was content."
On November 19, 1990, 81-year-old Julius was found incoherent and lying in a pool of his own blood inside his apartment in South Bend. He lived at 3723 West Jefferson Street in LaSalle Homes. He was found around 6:15 that evening by his son who called police.
Investigators say some women Julius knew called his son when they went to visit and noticed something was wrong.
Julius was taken to the hospital where he regained consciousness, but he died less than 2 months later because of the beating.
Investigators say he was found in the living room area by the front door. They found no signs of forced entry into his home, and there are indications he might have known the person who caused his death.
His family and police say he had a strong distrust of men , so he would not have let someone in his apartment if he did not trust them.
Police won't say if anything was taken, but they did notice Julius had a lot of stuff.
"The home was filled with items," describes St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit Commander Tim Corbett. "TVs, art, sculptures. There was a lot of stuff in there. In fact, one of the officers described it as he had to follow a path through the home. I don't think it was a hoarding situation, but he did buy a lot of property. So, it was cluttered."
Could that have had something to do with his murder? Police won't say. What they will say, though, is whoever did kill Julius needs to pay.
"This is an 81-year-old guy. Not a very big man by any means. He was minding his own business, just trying to make it through everyday, and somebody went in and beat him. They just beat him, no reason for it," says Corbett.
And that is what Leon struggles with the most: How his 81 year old father, a fun loving, family man with a passion for B.B King and Elvis could die so tragically and so senselessly.
"People got fathers, they got grandmothers, grandfathers, they got mothers," says Leon. "Who would do that to somebody's parent or parents. No empathy. No empathy at all for the fellow man. No empathy for each other."
Julius would have been 104 now, but his mom lived to 107, so his family believes he still had several good years in front of him.
And in this case, like so many other cold cases, police are confident there are people out there who know something.
St. Joseph County Metro Homicide: (574) 235-5009
Crime Stoppers: (574) 288-STOP or (574)342-7867