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Ex explains 'shoot up his s---' text in FSU star's murder trial

A defense attorney paints Dominique Jones as a scorned lover who recruited her brother and friends to kill Travis Rudolph.
Former Florida State and NFL wide receiver Travis Rudolph sits in court on the second day of his murder trial
Posted at 2:20 PM, May 30, 2023

The ex-girlfriend of Travis Rudolph was cross-examined for hours on the second day of testimony in the former Florida State football star's murder trial.

Dominique Jones, who had testified the day before that she never intended for her brother and his friends to hurt Rudolph when she texted her brother to "shoot up his s---" after learning of the football player's apparent infidelity, was back on the witness stand Thursday.

Defense attorney Heidi Perlet attempted to portray Jones as an out-of-work real estate agent who was married to another man, "jealous" of Rudolph's professional football career and "angry" with Rudolph at the time of the April 2021 fatal shooting in Lake Park.

Rudolph, 27, is charged with one count of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder in connection with the shooting that killed Sebastien Jean-Jacques.

Jones testified Thursday that Rudolph became confrontational and wouldn't let her leave after she read his text messages with another woman. She also admitted to smashing his PlayStation and calling him a "broke b----" as the confrontation spilled out into the front yard of Rudolph's home.

Jeff Ringrose / Scripps News West Palm

"Isn't the moral of the story is that you sent your brother and your friends to go kill Travis?" Perlet asked Jones.

"No, the moral of the story is him putting his hands on me," she said. "That is really the basis of everything, and I didn't send my brothers to kill him."

"No, you just sent a text to go 'shoot up his s---,' right?" Perlet said.

"I didn't say shoot him," Jones answered.

When asked to explain what she meant by her text message, Jones said it was "nothing violent toward a person."

"I was upset and my adrenaline was running and I said something that I didn't mean," Jones said.

She went on to say that she "didn't necessarily mean for anything to happen to Travis, his family, his house or anything."

Jeff Ringrose / Scripps News West Palm

Perlet made it a point to mention that Jones went back inside the home to get a tequila bottle, which Perlet claimed Jones used to hit Rudolph in his head. Another item she picked up during the scuffle was a brick that she used to smash his car window, Jones testified.

Jones admitted that Rudolph never punched, slapped or hit her, but that she did strike him.

"I don't think I slapped him, but I did, like, throw a punch or two, yeah, at him," she testified.

Jones also confessed to deleting the "shoot up his s---" text message, along with another message that her brother sent in a group text — referring to Rudolph as a "dead man walking" — before turning her phone over to deputies.

Rudolph has been out of jail on house arrest since last year after he unsuccessfully sought a "stand your ground" defense.

Jean-Jacques fled after the shooting and was later found fatally wounded in the front passenger seat of a car in West Palm Beach. The driver and back seat passenger were also in the car, but they were uninjured.

Another victim was found with gunshot wounds in Lake Park.

A star wide receiver at Cardinal Newman High School, Rudolph went on to play at Florida State. He hauled in 153 catches for 2,311 yards and 18 touchdowns in three seasons with the Seminoles from 2014-16.

Mark Wallheiser / AP

The West Palm Beach native left school early to declare for the NFL Draft. Although he wasn't drafted, Rudolph signed with the New York Giants in 2017 and spent two seasons with the team.

Rudolph was signed to the Miami Dolphins practice squad in 2018 but tore an ACL on his first day of workouts and never played in the NFL again.

He signed with the Canadian Football League's Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2020, but the team released him after his arrest.

This story was originally published by Peter Burke at Scripps News West Palm.