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Ponsford man convicted for murder for burning girlfriend alive

A Ponsford man convicted of murder for setting his girlfriend’s unconscious body on fire was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in St. Paul.

Charles James Jones, 50, was convicted of second-degree murder by a jury on March 10. Jones was sentenced Friday to 27 years in prison with five years supervised release after his prison sentence is served.

Jones and his girlfriend, Shalonda Clark, were huddled around an oven in their Ponsford home trying to stay warm in December 2013, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Clark became unconscious and was immobile on a couch in the living room. Jones lit a blanket on fire and threw it on top of Clark’s body; Clark never regained consciousness, the release said. Ponsford is in Becker County, just south of the White Earth Indian Reservation.

Jones fled the burning house and went to a house across the road. When neighbors asked where Clark was, Jones said he did not know. Neighbors went to the house to look for Clark; Jones did not help or tell them where Clark’s body could be found, the release said. Clark’s charred remains were later recovered from among the ashes of the couch.

The case was investigated by the Becker County Sheriff’s Office, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the White Earth Police Department.