NAU shooting suspect released to parents; victim's mom issues statement

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FLAGSTAFF, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

The teen accused in the fatal shooting of an NAU student last fall has been released from jail while he awaits trial for first degree murder.

The Coconino County Sheriff's Office confirms that Steven Jones was released around 12:30 p.m. to the custody of his parents Wednesday. He will remain with them under GPS monitoring until his trial, scheduled for April of next year.

Jones is accused of opening fire after a scuffle in October, killing Colin Brough. Nicholas Prato, Kyle Zientek and Nicholas Piring were wounded. He has pleaded not guilty to one count of first degree murder and six counts of aggravated assault.

"We are deeply saddened and disappointed in the decision to release a killer who shot four unarmed NAU students," said Kimberly Dimo Prato, Nick Prato's mother. "Maricopa County residents should be warned and concerned for their lives. A GPS tracker won't stop him from killing someone else."

A woman at Jones' parents' home declined to comment.

Maria Alders Burns, a neighbor who lives across the street, said she wasn't concerned with the 19-year-old living nearby.

"I'm not worried about him coming back and doing anything like that. And if I remember, his parents were pretty strict," she said.

Jones has maintained the shooting was in self defense. Three women dropped off flowers and notes on his doorstep Wednesday night.

"He's one of our best friends, and we support him," said one woman.

[READ MORE: Judge allows release of NAU shooting suspect]

On Tuesday, Superior Court Judge Dan Slayton ruled that Jones could be released and laid out the conditions. Jones must wear a GPS monitoring bracelet around the clock, surrender his passport, follow a curfew each day, and stay away from guns.

Slayton also warned Jones he can't consume any alcohol or have any contact with the victims.

A Valley criminal defense attorney said the monitoring can cost as much as $20 a day. If Jones misses a payment, he'll have to go back into custody.

Jones' parents have previously said they would remove all guns from their home and relocate to Coconino County if the judge would agree to release their son.

[READ MORE: Parents of NAU shooting suspect say they'll rid home of guns]

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