Robbery: A Family Affair
How dim a view the judge takes remains to be seen. The girls, 15, copped to the Oct. 29, 2002, robbery—they scored $3,550 at BB-gunpoint—and are serving four years in a juvenile home. But as of press time, their mom was awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty in June to armed robbery and employing juveniles in commission of a crime. Meanwhile the girls' stepfather, Kevin Jones, 38—whose fate on related charges is in limbo after a hung jury on Sept. 30—maintains he learned about the robbery only when the trio got home. "I was so angry I flipped a table," he says. But that didn't stop him from taking the family to Caesars Atlantic City that day, where prosecutors say he and his wife gambled away some of the haul.
Last October, Chelsea overheard her parents, who owed about $100,000 on their four-bedroom ranch house, arguing about money. Jones, a dry-waller, hadn't worked since being hospitalized earlier that month for heart failure; Kathy, 34, had been staying at home with Elysia since the girl was kicked out of public school two years earlier. Chelsea, described by one friend as a "thugette," enlisted her twin in the plot. As their mother drove the family's 1992 Buick Skylark to the bank, the girls put on masks, "and we prayed," Chelsea testified. Three days later police raided the house and recovered $2,765.
Now they've lost the home, three of the kids have been placed with relatives and friends, and Mom has her regrets. "I didn't think I had any options," says Kathy. "Now I would sit on Chelsea to stop her."