April 25, 2014
JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announces that Chicago man has been sentenced to 50 years for the murder of a man at his home in New Lenox Township in 2011.
A jury in January found Rodney Julun, 25, guilty of beating 59-year-old Dwight Jones to death at his home just outside of New Lenox on June 10, 2011. Julun, who had met Jones that same evening in Chicago, had traveled with the victim to his house with the intention of committing a robbery or a burglary.
Judge Daniel Rozak handed down the sentence on Friday for what he described as “a senseless, cold-blooded and brutal act.”
Julun beat Jones about the head with a brass lamp that was inside his house, according to evidence presented at the trial. After the beating, he wrapped Jones in a sheet on his bed and doused him with gasoline.
The defendant left the house that night in the victim’s Volkswagen Jetta and took his cell phone, cash and other valuables, which he attempted to sell on the streets and at Chicago pawn shops. He returned the following day with two friends to steal additional items, including televisions, computers and jewelry.
Julun drove Jones’ car for several days before he and the other two men were arrested by Will County Sheriff’s Police. The other two men, John White, 23 and David Reed, 25, pleaded guilty to residential burglary in 2012 and were sentenced to six years and four years in the Illinois Department of Corrections respectively.
During the investigation, Julun told police several different stories about events leading up to the murder. However, when he took the witness stand at trial, he falsely testified that he acted in self-defense, alleging that Jones sexually assaulted him. During his testimony, he admitted that he had lied to police during the investigation.
Assistant State’s Attorneys Jim Long, Chris Regis and Erin Krone presented evidence that highlighted the many inconsistencies in the defendant’s story and led to his conviction.
“Rodney Julun is a street thug who brutally murdered Dwight Jones just so he could steal his valuables,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “He told so many lies to Will County Sheriff’s Investigators that he was destroyed on cross examination. He will now spend the next 50 years of his life behind bars to pay for this heinous crime.”
The State’s Attorney credited the team of Sheriff’s Department investigators led by Detective Jeremy Viduna for conducting a first-rate investigation that began in Will County and led them to Chicago’s South Side, where Julun first came across Jones.