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Man drowns after beating girlfriend and her mother to death with bat

A Florida man drowned himself after beating his girlfriend and her mother to death with a metal baseball bat.
A Florida man drowned himself after beating his girlfriend and her mother to death with a metal baseball bat.
Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images

A Florida man was found dead floating in a lake after he fled police hours earlier. Police had arrived at a Tavares home just as this man had finished beating two people to death. James Earl Jones, 32, had beaten his girlfriend and her mother to death with an aluminum baseball bat.

A third victim was also found at the home beaten in the head with the bat, but he was still alive, according to MSN News on July 15. He was barely hanging onto life when paramedics arrived. Police report that Jones drowned himself in the lake near the home where the beatings had taken place.

The 32-year-old man beat his girlfriend, Shannon Ratliff, 42, and her mother, 66-year-old Mavis Ratliff to death. They were found dead at the scene with massive head trauma. The third victim, who was found alive but in critical condition, is Shannon's brother Eddie Ratliff, 51, according to Chron News today.

Friends of Eddie Ratliff said that they were told he might not make it due to the severity of his head injuries. He did undergo surgery today, but there is no word on his condition.

After James Earl Jones, 32, beat these three people, police arrived. He dropped the metal bat when police ordered him to, but he refused to be handcuffed and took off on foot.

Later in the day Jones' body was found floating in Lake Dora. Eddie Ratliff, who works on a city garbage route, had gotten a phone call saying that his sister was being beaten. He called in to work on his truck's radio to tell them he was en route to his sister's house because there was a beating going on.

Jeffrey Gullickson, who worked with Eddie on the route, called police and alerted them to the beating. When police got there Jones was still holding the bat.

This is when he dropped the bat as police ordered him too, but took off on foot before they could apprehend him. Police found Mavis Ratliff dead on the ground at the home. Her son Eddie Ratliff was laying about 40-feet away from her.

Shannon Ratliff was found dead on the living room floor, police report. Jones' father told police that his son was schizophrenic and had stopped taking his medication.

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