PATERSON, NJ – Latasha Smith tried to save herself. In September, the Butler Street resident filed domestic violence charges against her career-criminal boyfriend and obtained a court order barring him from having contact with her. Police say she told the convicted killer their relationship was over.
But authorities say Raheem Jones would not stay away. On Wednesday, a day after he was released from a halfway house in Newark where he had been confined because of domestic violence charges she filed against him, police say Jones stabbed Smith to death.
Jones, 34, who previously served a six-year prison term for killing a Paterson man while playing with a shotgun in 2002, was ordered to serve a three-month sentence at the Logan Hall halfway house after Smith brought the domestic violence charges against him on September 11, according to state parole board officials.
Jones, who remains at large, completed his term at Logan Hall and was released on Tuesday, said Larry Gregorio, deputy executive director of the parole board. Jones remained on parole and was supposed to be staying at his grandmother's home on E. 18th Street in Paterson, Gregorio said.
One of the conditions of Jones' parole was that he not have contact with Smith, Gregorio said. City police say she had decided to end their relationship. But authorities say Jones went to her apartment at 156 Butler sometime before 7 pm on Wednesday and stabbed her multiple times. He has been charged with murder.
Authorities described Jones as a black male with a muscular build, 5’6”, with a short wavy hair cut, facial hair. He has tattoos on his forearms, under his left eye and neck. He was last seen wearing black ACG sneakers, blue jeans and a black long sleeve shirt with “Burberry” design patches on the elbows. Police say Jones should be considered dangerous and anyone who sees him should call 911 immediately.
Police said Jones is known to frequent the area of Park Avenue and E. 18th Street, Warren and E. 18th streets and the area of 10th Avenue and E. 22nd Street. Jones also has ties to Baltimore Maryland.
On Wednesday, Paterson Police Officer Daniel Loffio went to 156 Butler Street at about 7 pm in response to a call about a stabbing. Smith’s adult daughter directed Loffio to a second floor apartment where he found Smith covered in blood from multiple stab wounds, according to police.
Emergency medical personnel responded and took her to the hospital, but were unable to save her life, police said. She was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Ella Jackson, a neighbor of Smith's, described the victim as a "very nice" woman. Jackson said Smith was quiet and seemed very close to her adult children. Jackson said she believed Smith worked as a nurse's aide at a nursing home in Wayne.
A makeshift shrine of five candles was set up outside Smith's on Thursday.