OKLAHOMA CITY - A woman accused of killing her boyfriend is speaking out after months of silence. Trichell Jones was arrested in January after her longtime on-again, off-again boyfriend was shot in her garage.
Jones was charged with manslaughter and possession of a firearm after a felony conviction.
Now she said she wants her story to be heard so she can help affect change in the state, and reach other victims of domestic violence before it's too late.
"I don’t really think I’ll ever be back normal," Jones said. "It’s just something that I’m trying to live with."
Jones was 22-years-old when she met Quaylan Jeffers. The two fell in love and in 2006 moved in together.
"When he wasn't drinking, he was the nicest person to me," she said.
But it wasn't long before that love began to mix with fear. Jones said his possessive nature began to manifest itself in violence.
"About the second year is kind of when it got real, real physical," she said.
Then in 2008, she said Jeffers stabbed her.
"First time I had ever called the police on him," she said. "when I dialed 911 he was chasing me, and at the same time he was stabbing me and i didn't realize it."
She was stabbed in back, and less than an inch from her heart.
But before her wounds were healed, Jones was back with him. The district attorney dropped the charges when she wouldn't cooperate with them.
After that, Jones said the abuse became more frequent and more violent.
"He saw that I wasn't cooperating with police," she said, "so he figured he had the upper hand on me."
Working 16 to 20 hour days just to avoid being home, hiding her injuries, and isolating herself from friends and family, Jones said she couldn't see a way out. When things got bad inside their home, she would sit in her car to get away from it.
"I would just be like asking like, why is this happening to me? What have I done so bad? Like, I couldn't figure nothing out," Jones said. "I felt stupid because i would run right back to him."
This cycle continued, even after she moved out a couple years ago. Even then, she said she still saw him frequently, and that even though he was seeing other women, the two of them still had a relationship.
"With Quaylan, I’m really not justifying it but a part of me felt like I was all he had as far as family," she said, "because his mother had passed away, his little brother had passed away."
But it was during this time of living separately the fateful night took place.
On January 13, 2019, officers were called to Jones's home. According to the police report, officers found Jeffers' had been shot to death. Jones was arrested and booked on one count of first-degree murder. That charge has since been reduced to manslaughter. Jones has pleaded not guilty.
More than six months later, Jones still has trouble getting out words to talk about the incident and finding out he was dead.
"I felt like, like a part of my heart had been ripped out," she said. "Like the only thing that I could remember is, just like, the scream that I made when EMSA came in and said that he was gone."
She worries about what people think of her, so she continues to isolate her self. Because she never talks about it, she knows people don't understand what happened that night, and the years that led up to it.
Now Jones is trying to live her life in a constant state of mourning numbness she needs to get through each day.
By sharing this story, she's hoping to see the system strengthened for victims who might not have the courage to stand up for themselves.
"If it's there in black and white that something's going on, even if we don't want to come forward and press charges, I think the state should be able to do something to protect us because that's part of the reason that we don't come forward," Jones said, "because we're scared."
She also wants to reach other victims before it's too late, still today understanding first-hand the confusion and fear that keeps many trapped in a vicious cycle.
"I think about him every day," Jones said. "It sounds crazy but it’s like, how can you miss somebody that used to do something like that to you? But I, I love him."
Jones' next court date is scheduled for October.
Note: There are resources in Oklahoma City available to help victims of domestic abuse escape their abusers safely offering financial and legal help, living situations, care for their children, and that don't have to involve law enforcement. These include the YWCA (405) 948-1770 and 24-hour call center Safeline (toll-free) 1-800-522-7233.