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Cartersville mother charged with murder 8 months after her son died from a fentanyl overdose

Jennifer Lee Jones was arrested on Nov. 2, charged with murder, murder second-degree, cruelty to children and trafficking.

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. — Dustin McConnell Jr., 13, was a rising star athlete at Cass Middle School in Cartersville. He was a starting safety and also played as a wide receiver for the Colonels. 

His dad Dustin McConnell Sr. said his son loved sports, especially football. 

"He was an outstanding young man. Football was his favorite sport," McConnell Sr. explained.

On March 16, it was like any other day for Dustin Jr. He went to school, where he was a 7th grader at Cass Middle School. However, it would be his last day. Once the last school bell rang, he made it back to his home on Mission Road SW in Cartersville. 

Dustin Jr. would later be found unresponsive by his mom Jennifer Lee Jones. He died later that afternoon of an overdose.

His dad Dustin Sr. said it shouldn't have ever happened. 

"I hate it you know what I’m saying because this was an innocent little boy who had a bright figure in front of him, taken short by a careless act," Dustin Sr. said.

On March 27, his family, friends, teammates and the community held a Celebration of Life to remember Dustin Jr. who touched so many lives. 

While the community continued to grieve this young life– cut too short. The Bartow County Sheriff's Office was actively investigating his overdose death. 

Months would pass until on Nov. 2, four warrants were signed on Dustin Jr.'s mom, Jennifer Lee Jones. 

She was charged with murder, murder second-degree, cruelty to children second-degree and trafficking. 

Credit: Bartow County Sheriff's Office

The murder warrant accuses Jones of the offense of "being in possession of a trafficking amount of fentanyl (approximately 29 grams), which led to the death of the juvenile victim (Dustin McConnell)."

The murder second-degree warrant accuses Jones of the offense of "possession approximately 29 grams of fentanyl at her household, which ultimately led to the overdose death of the mentioned juvenile victim" (Dustin McConnell)."

11Alive asked Dustin Sr. how he thought his son got a hold of the fentanyl. 

"They (detectives) said it was like in purple form, and as a child as a teenager probably was like 'What is this?' Because he only had a little portion in his system, you know, what I’m saying and that little portion killed my son," Dustin Sr. said. "It’s messed up you know what I’m saying to have something that powerful in their house knowing that can kill people, you know, what I’m saying especially little children, innocent children."

Jones is being held without bond. 11Alive reached out to the Bartow County Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney for additional details on the case. 

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