Newport News mother killed in her home knew the accused shooter, family speaks

Newport News

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The family of a young mother shot and killed in Newport News is speaking out following the arrest of the man who police say killed her. 

Court documents reveal new information in the shooting of 24-year-old Kayleigh Ellifritz, and her husband. 

The couple had done a good deed and ended up getting shot. 

“They opened their door to them, people we’ve known most of our life,” said Justice Murray, Ellifritz’s brother. There’s no forgiveness there. His safest place is behind bars.” 

Police charged 23-year-old Jonah Sims with several counts, including murder.

According to warrants filed in Newport News, Sims knew Ellifritz’s husband, Javon Fraser. Fraser and Sims met in middle school and were later placed in the same foster home.

Paperwork indicated that Sims was now homeless. Ellifritz and Fraser were allowing Sims and his girlfriend to stay at their home on Dresden Drive.

Then, last Wednesday or Thursday, documents state Ellifritz kicked them out.

Undated booking photo of Jonah Dwight Sims provided by the Newport News Police Department.

On Saturday, Sims came back demanding to go inside and get the rest of his things. Ellifritz said no because her husband wasn’t home. That’s when, according to the warrant, Sims kicked in the door, beat Ellifritz and smashed her cell phone.

Two days later, she was shot to death inside the home.

According to a criminal complaint, Fraser told detectives he was home with his wife and children Monday night. The children (ages 2 and 4) were eating on the floor, when suddenly someone kicked in the front door. Fraser told detectives that the intruder said nothing, but just started shooting.

We’re told Elifritz died in front of her kids. 

“Last night wasn’t good,” said Tiffany Diggs, the godmother of Ellifritz’ son. “He does remember the ‘pow, pow’ so he keeps saying ‘pow pow’ and looking at the door.” 

Fraser said even though the man had a white cloth tied around his face he knew by the eyes it was Sims. He also said he saw Sims with a chrome/black handgun that he traded for last week.

Sims turned himself in to police Tuesday night.

As they try to cope with their loss, they’re focusing on the kids and keeping their mother’s memory alive for them. 

“She was kind. She loved her kids and she thought the world of them. She just didn’t deserve this,” said Logan Murray, Ellifritz’ sister. 

Fraser is out of the hospital. 

The family has set up a fund for help with funeral costs and for the kids’ future. If you’d like to help, click here.

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