Boy, 7, sees one parent kill the other

He said his father called out, "I am going to kill your mom." Then he fired, fatally wounding Ruth Hayes.

Ronald Hives, 7, saw his mother shot to death Saturday morning.

He does not remember hearing the shots ring out in rapid succession outside the family's Bartram Village apartment in Southwest Philadelphia.

But he remembers the blood on her body and the blood splattered on the wall.

He also remembers the last words the suspect - his father - called out to him as young Ronald and his mother, Ruth Angel Hayes, tried to flee the third-floor dwelling in the 2700 block of 56th Street.

"Go to your grandma's house. I am going to kill your mom."

Police yesterday publicly issued an all-points bulletin for the arrest of Jason Hives, 33, whose address was listed as the 1200 block of South St. Bernard Street. He is wanted in the killing of Hayes, 27, who was shot multiple times around 11 a.m. Saturday.

Ronald Hives, in an interview yesterday at a family member's home, said he screamed "No!" when his father ordered him to leave the apartment. He then saw his mother, four months pregnant, lying on the hallway floor near the door.

"She said, 'Bye, Ronald; I love you,' " said the boy, a second grader at the T.G. Morton Elementary School.

He said his mother then asked him to run to his grandmother's home a block away and tell her to call an ambulance.

That was the last time Ronald saw his mother alive. Her funeral will be 9 a.m. Friday at the Julian V. Hawkins Funeral Home in the 5300 block of Haverford Avenue.

Ronald's maternal grandmother, Ruth Elizabeth Hayes, said the couple had been estranged for about a month. She said she worries about how Ronald is coping with the tragedy. "It's touch-and-go with him. He asks why his father shot his mom. He knows she's somewhere, but doesn't know quite where," she said, through sobs. She said her daughter was killed because Jason Hives would not let her end their relationship.

Ronald Hives, a polite, quiet boy, said that there was "loud arguing" between his parents before the shooting. His mother raised an iron and threatened to burn his father if he didn't leave her alone, he said. Ronald and his mother had come to the apartment that afternoon so he could see his father.

"When my mother went out the door, he followed and started shooting at her," said Ronald, his eyes darting to the floor.

Ronald Hives said he left behind his three pet turtles - Painty, Snappy and Killer - at the apartment and hopes to get them back.

He said he's not having nightmares about the slaying, but he misses his mom.

His grandmother, who is 54, said that the couple and the boy had lived together for seven years until domestic troubles began to escalate last month.

In December - soon after the victim and her son moved out - Jason Hives was arrested and charged with armed robbery, aggravated assault and related counts, according to court records. The grandmother says the charges stemmed from the holdup of a pizzeria on Dec. 7.

Court records show that the charges were dismissed at a preliminary hearing on Jan. 12 for lack of evidence. In 1994 Hives had pleaded guilty to a robbery and was sentenced to probation, according to other court records.

Jason Hives' family could not be reached for comment. Philadelphia police released no futher details on the killing.

Hayes said that her daughter, whom everyone called Angel, was a home health aide who had attended community college. She also had worked at the Fossil shop at Philadelphia International Airport.

Hayes said that her daughter and grandson moved in with her after Hives threw all of her daughter's clothes in the bathtub and poured bleach over them.

Hayes is upset that police didn't arrest Hives on the spot for the bleach incident.

"They said that's not how it's done. They said to get a restraining order." Angel applied for one, but couldn't bear to execute it, her mother said. "It was because of little Ronnie. She didn't want to get Jason in trouble."

But Jason Hives said he would kill her and her "whole family" if she stopped seeing him, the grandmother said.

When her daughter finally decided to end the relationship, Hives became angry, Hayes said.

"He was jealous. He wanted her back. He kept calling her on her cell phone and threatening her," she recalled. "He said, 'Ain't nobody going to have you but me.' "


Contact staff writer Jan Hefler at 856-779-3224 or jhefler@phillynews.com.

Inquirer staff writer Joseph A. Gambardello also contributed to this article.