Jury finds man guilty of 1978 murder

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George Jones By Jennifer Thomas George Jones By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- A Maricopa County jury has found a man guilty in a murder case that dates back to the 1970s.

On Thursday, 55-year-old George Jones was convicted of fatally shooting Duane “Bud” Gruette on July 18, 1978.

Jones and at least one other person walked into the Westward Tavern in Phoenix and ordered everyone inside to get on the ground and hand over their wallets and purses.

Gruette wasn’t able to get on the ground due to back injuries, and proceeded to get into a struggle with one of the suspects.

A beer bottle was thrown at Gruette during the dispute. He was eventually shot in the back twice before the suspects fled the scene.

Police were able to get a palm print from the bottle, and in April 2011 the Automated Fingerprint Identification System was able to match the print with fingerprints taken from Jones during a separate interaction with law enforcement.

Jones was indicted on one count of first-degree murder in February. He was convicted this week following a four-day trial.

“After more than three decades, we can at last hold this defendant accountable for a senseless murder and the immeasurable grief he has caused a family by robbing them of their loved one,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

Jones is facing 25 years to life in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on November 27.