Mom killed dad, but Ottawa RedBlacks' Reggie Jones persevered

Reggie Jones practises with the Ottawa RedBlacks on Monday. (TONY CALDWELL/QMI Agency)

Reggie Jones practises with the Ottawa RedBlacks on Monday. (TONY CALDWELL/QMI Agency)

Don Brennan, Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:21 PM ET

OTTAWA - Schooling aside, RedBlacks cornerback Reggie Jones comes from the House of Hard Knocks.

The hardest imaginable knock hit him on an autumn morning in 1999 when the then 13-year old was awakened by a loud bang. He ran upstairs to find his stepfather, Donyea Jones, screaming and in flames.

Police said Tonya Jones, Reggie's mom, lit him on fire while he slept.

Donyea, who had taught Reggie how to catch a football in their backyard, died from burns to 90% of his body. Tonya went to prison for second-degree murder.

"It was extremely difficult," Reggie Jones said Tuesday of the tragedy, and entering his teenage years without his parents. "It's extremely difficult growing up in that type of environment, but that doesn't mean I have to be defeated. A lot give in. They use their trial as a crutch. I use it as a trampoline, to propel higher.


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