The Mysterious Death of Andre Jones - Unsolved Mysteries

Were a series of suicides in a Mississippi jail really murder?

Andre Jones

Andre was pulled over

CASE DETAILS

In the summer of 1992, Andre Jones was 18-years-old and about to start his freshman year of college.  His mother, Esther, was President of the Jackson Mississippi branch of the NAACP.  His stepfather, Charles X. Quinn, was a Nation of Islam minister.  In the early morning hours of Saturday, August 22nd, Andre and his girlfriend, Tanisha Love, were driving home when they approached a sobriety checkpoint.  At the time, Andre was driving a friend’s pick-up truck.

Andre was arrested and charged

A half hour later, Andre’s parents were awakened by a phone call from Tanisha.  Andre had been arrested.  At 2:00 AM, Andre called his parents from the Brandon Police station.  He said he was unaware of what he’d been charged with.  At 4:00 AM, Andre telephoned again, this time to say he had been transferred to the Simpson County Jail, 40 miles south of Jackson.  According to Andre’s mother Esther, her son still didn’t know what the charges were against him:

“We were told that they could not tell us anything at that time.  And Simpson County just refused to even talk to us and they told us that we could not come to their jail.”

Esther said she spoke to Andre at least five different times on Saturday:

“We could not tell him anything.  He was very much concerned about getting out immediately so that he could attend school the very next day.”

Then at midnight on Saturday, the Quinns heard a knock on their door.  It was a Jackson police officer.  According to Esther, the officer handed her a piece of paper:

“It only had a phone number for the Simpson County Jail.  There was not a note.  There was not a message.  It was only a number.”

Esther immediately called the police station and received some devastating news:

“I was informed that Andre had committed suicide.  I was casually informed… as if they could’ve been talking to someone that didn’t even know who he was.”

How did he hang himself with a shoelace?

According to Andre’s parents, he had never shown suicidal tendencies.  He had never even suffered from depression.  Andre had no previous arrest record, so when Esther and Charles Quinn started to look into his death, they naturally began with the circumstances of his arrest.

That night, Andre and Tanisha stopped by the Quinn’s house in Jackson around 11:45.  They left and drove east toward Brandon, where Tanisha lived.  Near the Brandon city limits, they came upon the checkpoint.  According to the police, Andre stopped just short of the checkpoint and tossed something out the window.  Police identified the object as a .38 caliber handgun.  Inside the truck, police said there was an open can of beer.  And finally, the truck—which Andre had borrowed and driven for more than a week—turned out to be stolen.

However, Tanisha Love’s version of the events was quite different from the police report.  According to Tanisha, the moment that the officers heard Andre’s name, their attitude immediately changed:

“After they asked him his name, they all went to… a little huddle, you know a football huddle… I don’t know what they were talking about because they were talking low.  And after that, that’s when they came to the truck and asked Andre again, did he have his license and he said no sir, don’t have my license.  And they asked him to step out the truck and that’s when they handcuffed him.  They shackled his feet and they had him handcuffed at the same time. I didn’t understand what was going on.”

But according to the State Public Safety Commissioner Jim Ingram, Andre Jones was never shackled.  In fact, Ingram disagreed with Tanisha’s entire account:

“There was no confrontation whatsoever with young Andre Jones.  In fact, the officers were very amazed how cooperative he was.”

Dr. Ward reviewed the autopsy

According to Jackson Police, Andre was charged on four counts:  driving a truck whose vehicle identification number had been altered, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of stolen license plate tags, and driving with an open container of alcohol.  Commissioner Ingram remained adamant that the arrest was not confrontational.  Charles Quinn, however, said that an inmate in Brandon told him that police used racial slurs to intimidate his son:

“One of the inmates who was transferred with Andre said that the officer said, ‘Do you know what happens to niggers for stealing a white man’s truck?’  And of course, other statements were said to put fear in Andre.”

The next day, Andre was transferred to the Simpson County Jail.  That night, his body was found in a shower stall at the end of a dimly lit corridor.  Authorities state that Andre tied his own shoelace to an iron grate above the showerhead and hung himself.  When Charles Quinn was allowed to visit the cell, he estimated the grate was about eight feet above the floor:

“He would need someone to have held him up to do that, and he would have needed some type of stool to stand on.”

Dr. Steven Hayne, the state-approved pathologist who performed the autopsy, said investigators had demonstrated that it was possible for Andre to have hung himself unaided:

“That position was easily reached by a member of the sheriff’s office who was acting as the decedent.”

Less than a week after Andre’s death, his parents hired an independent pathologist, Dr. James Bryant, to examine the remains and review the case:

“I think that he was strangled.  Someone did this to him.  In the usual case of a suicide by hanging, the ligature mark is along the side of the neck and doesn’t go all the way around.  It’s in this fashion, whereas in the case of Andre Jones, the ligature marking went along the side of the neck and all the way into the back and criss-crossed in this fashion.  This suggests to me that… someone had to come behind and wrapped the ligature around his neck.”

The official autopsy report listed no evidence of bruising on Andre’s neck or anywhere else on his body.  However, Dr. Bryant’s observations were different:

“He had some bruising under one of his eyes and also he had some bruising on the shoulder of the same side.  The bruising could’ve been right at the time that he died or it could’ve been some time during the day, but apparently… he suffered some kind of blunt trauma some time during the time he was in the jail.”

A year after Andre’s death, Mississippi named a new state medical examiner, Dr. Emily Ward.  Dr. Ward reviewed Andre’s autopsy report as well as the autopsies of several other men who had died by hanging in Mississippi jails:

“I think that it’s extremely unlikely that any of these deaths are anything other than suicide.  All the deaths have been investigated by not just one agency but one or two or sometimes three.”

To date, vindication has eluded the Quinns.  They filed two lawsuits—one against the State of Mississippi, the other against the federal government.  However, both were dismissed.  An investigation by the US Justice Department cited Mississippi’s jail system for what they called “gross deficiencies,” including unsanitary conditions and untrained employees.  But the report failed to find evidence that the Mississippi hangings were anything other than suicides.


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season six with Robert Stack and in season seven with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.

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23 Comments

  1. Robert Cif

    Wow….I’ve been an unsolved fan since day 1 but you guys have lost all credibility with this story.
    Mother in the NAACP, father in the NOI, son indisputably caught with a stolen car and allegedly had a gun. Of course the parents will NEVER admit their son was a criminal.
    I think it says it all that this case was investigated by multiple agencies, 2 medical examiner’s and the parents civil suits have been thrown out of court twice.
    Unsolved Mysteries should be embarrassed of themselves that they even made this case a story

    Reply

  2. Andy

    I live in Simpson County and was born in 2003. I watch this show and love it all. Back to Mr. Jones- condolences to the family of this young man. I know personally the members of the Simpson County force and know none of them have the guts to “legitedally” kill some one. Consider The Following However:
    1. Why did he have tennis shoes.
    2. How did shoelaces hold.
    3. What motives.
    4. Why weren’t officers under oath in court to what happened.

    Reply

  3. Kasey

    Clearly that boy was killed by those hateful ugly disgusting cops. The fact that a cop can do this and get away is why I don’t believe in justice at all.

    Reply

  4. Al Bolton

    I was Andre’s best friend. Andre would have never killed himself. Foul play in definite.

    Reply

    • Donavan S.Delvecchio

      Hey Al I certainly believe you! However how is Tanisha doing I hope all is well with her.

      Reply

    • Paul

      He struck me as a 100% Grade A regular kid who might hang out with one of my sons. Andre should have been going on to the military or higher school, not to an early grave. My condolences.

      Reply

  5. Anonymous

    There’s no coincidence that several people just hang themselves, with no previous hx of SI or MI. From all of the stories coming to fore about cover ups and police brutality, I strongly suspect foul play by the police. Unfortunately this is systemic, which is why they were not prosecuted. Mississippi has never caught up with the times and Jim Crow is still the law there. It’s shameful and the police there are pathetic. May this young man rest peacefully and his murder eventually solved.

    Reply

  6. Anonymous

    Dr Emily Ward your words don’t fill me with much faith in your judgement, “investigated not by one but at least one, sometimes two or three”, um yeah sure. Poor kid.

    Reply

  7. morgan

    I think someone killed him because this is exactly what happened to my father

    Reply

  8. Citizen

    He was murdered. His killers knew what they were doing and how to frame it properly so the truth couldn’t be proven. I think that the Mississippi government suspects what’s going on but dont want that kind of bad publicity on their state so they won’t allow that door to open. It just goes to show what kind of system we really live in. I pray for Andre 🙁 God bless him & his loved ones.

    Reply

  9. Jessi

    A classic lynching. Unsolved but hardly a mystery, especially considering who his parents are. Things haven’t gotten any better for black people concerning the police – cops have just cleaned up their language a bit – and I say this a white woman from Alabama who’s never experienced bad treatment from police. Poor kid and his family.

    Reply

  10. LUIS FREEH

    DON’T THE POLICE GUARDS TAKE YOUR SHOELACES WHEN U GET TRANSFERED TO ANOTHER PERMANANT HOUSING? A JUMPSUIT AND LIKE SLIP ON SLIPPERS. YEAH! YEAH! YEAH! “I’VE BEEN” “I” THINK THAT HIS GIRL FRIEND NEVER SHOULD HAVE TOLD THE PARENTS WHAT HAPPENED. AND THAT DECIDED THAT!

    Reply

  11. DEBRA SIMMONS

    Another sad case of a young black male being murdered in the state of Mississippi, especially in a government jail cell and getting covered up by the ones who killed him. this case is still crying out for justice, no matter that it happened 24years ago, today this young man Andre would be 42 years old. evil demons disguised like officers of the so-called law , without any doubt in my mind is fully responsible for Andre’s death and this system is allowed to get away with it. I just saw this episode on unsolved mystery and it breaks my heart to see this, because I too had a brother killed in 2007 while in police custody in a Mississippi jail, and to only have my case also dismissed. I wish the family get peace and justice 4 Andre. This young man did NOT deserve to have his life taken because of someone or someones evil racist hatered and some who had a hatered toward his mother and father’s affiliations with their organizations. I know Mississippi very well. Mississippi is my home state and one which I’m highly a shamed of , because the same old rotten,evil stuff still happens there. No Justice! No Peace! if anyone reads this and wants to get together to bring about change then please contact me at jjaa57@aol.com for further details.

    Reply

  12. SisterMorphine

    Steven Hayne was eventually discredited as a pathologist, punished for perjury & several murder cases were overturned or reopened bc of his “evidence.” Whether that has anything to do with it, I don’t know, but this sounds mighty suspicious.

    Reply

  13. Anonymous

    Madea

    Reply

  14. Rose

    I don’t believe he killed himself . Someone knows what really happened and how they can sleep at night but judgement will come when you stand before our God ….

    Reply

  15. shelya

    Why would a young man kill hem self ? Was he killed because of his parents positions within the community? This has got to stop,before all our childen die by the hands of HATE RED

    Reply

  16. Rebecca

    I agree he did not commit suicide, someone did that to him. He was looking forward to starting his freshman year in college. It seems he was beaten and strangled to make it look like he committed suicide. Such Injustice, its a broken system, too many lies to cover-all wrong doings. its sad no closure for his family. May he rest in peace.

    Reply

  17. Anonymous

    I don’t believe that this young man hung himself. I think it was the works of a hateful person. These people are still hiding in plain sight. How long will they be allowed to get away with this on earth? When it is all said and done, they will have to answer to the master. Wrong is wrong!!

    Reply

  18. Ebony

    I really think someone the jail did it or one of the prisoners because I was reading how the police change up the story. but will they know it was white truck…

    Reply

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If you have questions, comments, or complaints concerning our privacy practices or if you wish to change, access, or remove your Personal Data, please contact us as indicated below.  We will attempt, where practical, to respond to your requests and to provide you with additional privacy related information.

Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. is the owner of this Website and retains all ownership rights to the information collected at this Website. Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. reserves the right to change, modify, add, or remove provisions of this Privacy Statement. Any changes to this Privacy Statement will be posted here, and we encourage you to check back from time to time. In addition, Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. will notify registered users of changes as they occur.

We allow third-party companies to serve ads and/or collect certain anonymous information when you visit our web site. These companies may use non-personally identifiable information (e.g., click stream information, browser type, time and date, subject of advertisements clicked or scrolled over) during your visits to this and other Web sites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services likely to be of greater interest to you. These companies typically use a cookie or third party web beacon to collect this information. To learn more about this behavioral advertising practice or to opt-out of this type of advertising, you can visit networkadvertising.org. Your use of the site constitutes your agreement to accept cookies, beacons and third-party advertising. Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. assumes no responsibility for third-party ads.

ARTICLE 1. Personalization
1.1 We may use the contact information you give us to better tailor your Website experience to your interests, and to send you information about Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. and its services as well as promotional material on behalf of some of our partners. We may use other information that you provide to us to show you content in which you may be interested and to display the content according to your preferences. We will also share this information within Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. in order to enhance your experience on this and other Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. Websites.
1.2 In addition, we may share this information with advertisers or other third parties that are not part of the Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. family on an aggregate or other basis that does not disclose your identity or contact information.

ARTICLE 2. Online Surveys/Contests
2.1 From time to time, we may conduct online surveys and contests. These may ask you for contact information (like name or email address) and demographic information (like zip code or age).
2.2 We may use this contact information from our surveys and contests to provide you with information about our company and promotional material on behalf of some of our partners, and to contact you when necessary.

ARTICLE 3. Shopping/Commercial Services
3.1 This Website may offer shopping services, which may be offered by us or by a firm that operates a store under contract with us. If our Website offers shopping or other commercial services, you will use a customer order form to request information, products, and services. The order form will ask you to give us contact information (like name or email address), financial information (like account or credit card numbers), and demographic information (like zip code or age).

3.2 We will use the financial information that you provide to bill you for products and services. By giving our Website your credit card and related personal information, you are authorizing our store to give that information to the merchant and credit card company in order to confirm and fulfill your order.

3.3 We will use contact information from the order form to fulfill your orders. We may also use contact data to get in touch with you when necessary. We will not otherwise use or distribute your financial information without your prior approval.

ARTICLE 4. Public forums
4.1 This Website may make available chat rooms, blogs, forums, message boards, and news groups. Please remember that any information that you disclose in these areas becomes public information and you should exercise caution when deciding to disclose your personal information. Information disclosed by you or by others enters the public domain and may be freely used by any other persons or entities using the site.

ARTICLE 5. Information Sharing With Third Parties
5.1 From time to time we may enter into a special relationship with another company that is not owned by Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. to provide additional features at this Website. These special relationships may include “powered by” partners, business partners, sponsors, and co-branded sites (referred to here as “co-branded pages”). These might include, for example, pages that share our name and that of another entity. You should look for a specific privacy statement on any such co-branded page. Any personal information that you provide when signing up at one of those co-branded pages may be shared with our third party partner. You should also check our partner’s website for information regarding its privacy policies.

5.2 Also, the nature of some features of our Website may require that we share personal information about you with persons or companies outside of Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. For example, this may occur at a feature that enables you, via our Website, to ask questions of persons or entities that are not part of Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. By responding to those features of the site, whether by email or direct entry of information on our Website, you are consenting to our transferring that information to such persons or entities.

5.3 With respect to specific registration modules, like contests, we may disclose personal information collected, and we may post a conspicuous statement on the registration module to the effect that we will be disclosing the information collected with third parties.

5.4 Finally, we may share any of the information collected from you with these other non- Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc companies in an aggregate basis. The aggregated information is not linked to any information that can identify you.

ARTICLE 6. IP Address and Log Files
6.1 We may use your IP address to administer our Website, to help diagnose problems with our server, to analyze trends, to track users’ webpage movements, to help identify you and your shopping cart, and to gather broad demographic information for aggregate use.

ARTICLE 7. Cookies
7.1 This Website may use a standard technology called a “cookie” to collect information about how you use the Website. Cookies reside on your computer and help our Website to recognize your computer’s browser as a previous visitor. This information allows us to customize delivery of information. For example, our Website may use cookies to save and remember registration information or preferences that you may have set while browsing the Website, to keep track of your shopping cart, to ensure you don’t see the same ad content repeatedly, to deliver content specific to your interests, and to save your password so you do not have to re-enter it each time you visit our site. We use cookies only to gather information as indicated in this policy.

7.2 In addition, on occasion our site may also set a “session cookie” which helps us administer the Website. The session cookie expires when you close your browser and does not retain any information about you after it expires.

7.3 Finally, we may also use an ad network provider to help present advertisements on this and other Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. websites. This ad network provider, like other advertising service vendors, uses cookies, web beacons, or similar technologies on the hard drive of your computer to serve you advertisements tailored to interests you have shown by browsing on this and other sites you have visited, and to determine whether you have seen a particular advertisement before and to avoid sending you duplicate advertisements. In doing so, the provider collects non-personal data such as your browser type, your operating system, web pages visited, time of visits, content viewed, ads viewed, and other clickstream data. The use of cookies, web beacons, or similar technologies by these ad network providers is subject to their own privacy policies, not ours, and Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. assumes no responsibility for the collection or use of such information.

ARTICLE 8. Banner Advertising
8.1 We have contracted with an ad-service to place banner advertising on our Website. All of the data provided and generated by the ad-server software remains in our possession. This feature of our Website may, on occasion, set “cookies” on your computer. Any information collected or stored by the ad-service or the cookies is treated in the same manner as other information described in this statement.

ARTICLE 9. Children’s Personal Information
9.1 Consistent with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act:

9.1.1 This site does NOT collect, use, or disclose personal information (including online contact information) of children under the age of thirteen (13).

9.1.2 In the event that a child under the age of 13 attempts to register on our site, we will NOT accept the registration and will delete information received from the child.

9.1.3 In the event that a child posts personal information in a public forum such as a chat room, we will attempt to delete that information once we become aware of it.

ARTICLE 10. Security of Your Personal Information
10.1 Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. employs reasonable security measures consistent with standard industry practice, for information collected through this Website. We believe that we have adequate security measures in place in our physical facilities to protect against the loss, misuse, or alteration of the information we collect on our Website. We also use internal protections to limit access to users’ personal information to only those employees who need the information to perform a specific job.

ARTICLE 11. Sale or Merger
11.1 If this Website is sold to, or merges with, another company not owned by Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc., you should expect that some or all of the information collected from this Website may be transferred to the buyer/surviving company. If so, CMP will seek to obligate the acquiring company to use any personal information transferred by this Website in a manner consistent with this statement, but cannot guarantee that it will be able to impose that requirement or that the acquiring company will comply.

ARTICLE 12. Legal Process
12.1 You should be aware that Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. may be required to disclose your personal information to the government or third parties under certain circumstances, such as in court or regulatory proceedings.

ARTICLE 13.  Contacting the Website

13.1        If you have any questions about this Privacy Statement, the practices of this Website, or your dealings with this Website, please contact us at: unsolved@unsolved.com.

ARTICLE 14.  general information

14.1        Choice of Law:  This Agreement and the Additional Terms shall be governed by, construed and enforced in accordance with the laws of the State of California , as it is applied to agreements entered into and to be performed entirely within such state, without regard to conflict of law principles.

14.2        Choice of Forum:  You agree that any cause of action you or Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. brings to enforce this Agreement and/or the Additional Terms, or in connection with any matters related to this Website and/or the Privacy Statement, shall be submitted to arbitration in the County of Los Angeles, State of California, United States of America in accordance with the commercial rules and regulations of the American Arbitration Association then in effect (as amended herein), provided that said arbitration shall be heard before a single arbitrator, who shall be a retired judge, selected pursuant to such rules and regulations, and shall be conducted on an expedited basis and in confidence. The arbitrator’s decision shall be controlled by the terms and conditions of this agreement and any other agreements I may enter into with you, and shall be final and binding, and shall provide for each party to bear its own costs of arbitration and attorneys’ fees.  Each party expressly waives any right to a jury.  Judgment upon the award of the arbitrator may be entered or enforced in any court of competent jurisdiction. 

14.4        If any provision of this Agreement, or the application thereof to any person or circumstances, is held invalid or for any reason unenforceable then such provision shall be deemed superseded by a valid, enforceable provision that matches, as closely as possible, the original provision, and the other provisions of this Agreement shall remain in full force and effect.  The failure of either party to insist upon strict performance of any provision of this Agreement shall not be construed as a waiver of any provision or right.  Unless expressly provided otherwise, this Agreement is the entire agreement between you and Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. with respect to the use of this Website and shall not be modified except in writing, signed by an authorized representative of Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc.

ARTICLE 15.  European Union and Other Foreign Nations

15.1        This Website is governed by and operated in accordance with the laws of United States of America and is intended for enjoyment of residents of the United States.  Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. makes no representation that this Website is governed by or operated in accordance with the laws of other nations.  By using this Website and submitting any personal information, visitors from outside of the United States acknowledge this Website is subject to U.S. law, consent to the transfer of personal data to the U.S., and waive any claims that may arise under their own national laws.