Irvine Slaying Suspect Trailed, Held in Seattle


FBI and parole agents in Seattle on Thursday arrested one of two men suspected in the shooting death of an Irvine businessman behind his townhouse earlier this year, authorities said.

Jerome Frank Jones, 25, of Carson was taken into custody without incident in connection with the March 31 slaying of Gregory A. Hebdon, said Irvine Police Lt. Sam Allevato. Hebdon was gunned down on his ninth wedding anniversary in a quiet Woodbridge neighborhood.

FBI agents spent a few days watching an apartment that Jones apparently had been sharing with his girlfriend and her three children before making the arrest, said Roberta Burroughs, a special agent with the FBI.


At 11 a.m., authorities followed Jones as he left the apartment and stopped him a mile from the apartment. He was armed with a .45-caliber handgun concealed at his waist and was suspected of possessing crack cocaine, Burroughs said.

The second suspect, Ramon Marion Patterson, also 25, was still at large Thursday, Allevato said. Both were identified by witnesses at the crime scene, police said.

“Things are looking very encouraging at this point,” Allevato said.

Investigators allege that either Jones or Patterson, both identified as gang members, fired at least six shots from a 9-millimeter pistol into Hebdon’s head and chest, leaving him to die beneath his Toyota Landcruiser. Patterson is believed to have been a former employee in Hebdon’s business, Servpro of Irvine, which specialized in restoring fire- and water-damaged properties.

Lillian Hebdon, the victim’s widow, said, “I felt great that they got somebody, and I’m confident that they’ll catch the other one too.”

Police believe the motive to be “robbery or extortion, something along that line,” Allevato said.

Lillian Hebdon said Thursday that the attackers didn’t take anything from her husband, including his $77 in cash.


Neighbors told detectives they heard a man screaming “No! No! No!” before the shooting. A witness also said she saw two men pistol-whipping Hebdon and trying to force him into the trunk of a Lexus automobile in an alley near Ponderosa and Briarwood.

The homicide was the first in Irvine this year.

Jones has a history of crime in Southern California and Washington, according to state parole officials. He served three years in prison for carjacking and shooting a Gardena man before being paroled in June, 1991. Jones later violated parole by robbing a produce truck at gunpoint in the Lynwood area, authorities said. Jones was arrested and served 12 months in prison before he was released in April, 1993. A few months later, he was convicted in King County, Wash., of drug possession and sentenced to a year’s probation, said Gerald Broderhausan, community corrections officer for Washington’s Department of Corrections.

He violated probation several times, Broderhausan said. In January, another arrest warrant was issued when Jones failed to report to his probation officer, he said.

Irvine police investigators were en route Thursday to question Jones in the King County Jail, where he was being held, Allevato said.