Newlywed pastor found shot dead in bed with church elder husband

Eric Jones and his wife LaRhonda.Facebook/Eric Jones

A newlywed pastor of a church has been found shot dead in her bed alongside her church elder husband in a shocking incident in Connecticut, USA.

Assistant Pastor LaRhonda Jones, 48, and her 54-year-old husband Eric, who was an elder at their church, RIM City Church in Connecticut, were found shot dead in bed on Thursday last week.

The senior pastor RIM City Church in New Haven, Denarian Gordon, Sr., who performed the couple's marriage ceremony just one year ago, has told WTNH: "The church is devastated, devastated. We're all in a state of shock, disbelief."

Waterbury Police Department has told the media that the pastor and her church elder husband, who is also a retired police officer, were found on Thursday when suspicions were raised after LaRhonda didn't show up for work.

Her disappearance sparked her employer, as well as her sister, to call the police and request a welfare check to be made on the couple. She was found in their condo in Waterbury, in bed with her husband. Both had died from apparent gunshot wounds.

A statement has said, "The police located a deceased adult male and a deceased adult female lying on a bed in a bedroom."

Reports have indicated that a handgun was also found in the room, although no further official details from the investigation have been made public.

According to WSFB, LaRhonda's friend Jennifer Whiten has reported that the assistant pastor was previously a victim of domestic violence, but had gone on to devote her life to God and ministry. Whiten said, "She had a huge presence. Her spirit was just a welcoming spirit, everybody gravitated towards her. Everybody just loved her. It's just a shock."

LaRhonda had boasted of her new-found happiness on her Facebook page, stating in one post: "Saturday, March 10, 2018, I married one of God's sons. He loves me in-spite of me. He is saved for real, he loves God, patient, kind, funny, straightforward, and handsome. I am proud to be his wife and call him my husband. #wearethejones's."

In another post she wrote: "Dear Husband: Eric Jones. You are one of God's greatest blessings to me. Thank you for choosing me to be your good thing. I am blessed to have you as my husband. You are so dope. Thank you for putting up with me. Thank you for your endless patience. Thank you for taking care of everything. Thank you for working so hard for us. For going to work day after day to make things happen for us. It is not going unnoticed. For going out there and doing your best despite the frustrations and obstacles."

She added, "Thank you for supporting my ministry. I really appreciate that. Thank you for your constant encouragement and belief in me. You push me to be better even though I try to hide behind you. Lol!!! Thank you for listening and keeping me on my toes. Thank you for being so handsome along with other things I can't mention here. You are the perfect example of a man and a husband. You are the perfect husband for me. I don't have the words to express what an awesome husband you are but I love you with my whole heart. Forever and always devoted to you. Your wife Rhonda."

Her husband, Eric, had retired from the New Haven police force in 2012 after serving there for 20 years. He recently posted on his Facebook page: "I am so great full (sic) for everyone who took the time out for all the birthday wishes. I am still smiling. God has blessed me to see another year in which, I am thankful. Special thanks to my wife for making the day great...Love you sweetheart."

Earlier this year, the assistant pastor posted: "My husband made sure my birthday was perfect. He is the best husband ever. Today was an excellent birthday. Thank sweetheart for the gifts, the flowers, the balloons, and the play. Now off for a late dinner. Also, thank you to my FB family and friends for all the birthday wishes. You guys rock."