DA Mark Jones indictment: He is accused of asking a police officer to lie so that the charge can be turned into murder
COLOMB, Georgia (WRBL) –Muscogee County District Attorney Mark Jones’ legal troubles did not end with Wednesday’s trial being called off in a criminal property damage case.
Jones still faces serious charges of alleged misconduct during his tenure.
Jones is charged with nine counts of alleged criminal misconduct during his first eight months in office. The matter was investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The charges were presented to the grand jury by John Fowler, head of the prosecution division of the attorney general’s office.
Jones filed a motion earlier this week for a speedy trial, the same legal maneuver he used in the Civic Center donut case that ended abruptly when Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Monroe has declared the trial set aside.
As these charges unfold, Jones faces an almost certain suspension in the weeks to come.
Under OCGA 45-5-6, if the district attorney is indicted, the governor appoints a three-member commission within 14 days. This commission then has 14 days to report to the governor. If the commission recommends the suspension, the governor, in this case Republican Brian Kemp, would appoint someone to fill the post.
The commission would normally be made up of two district attorneys based in Georgia and the attorney general.
Since the indictment was presented by Republican Attorney General Chris Carr’s office, third place would be taken by a retired Georgia Supreme Court judge or an appeals court judge, according to state law.
Under Georgian law, the district prosecutor, as an elected official, has the right to appeal to the governor.
When we look at the indictment issued on September 7, two counts emerge.
One count attempted to bribe a perjurer. And one count of influencing a witness. The two allegations appear to be linked to the same act.
Here’s what the indictment alleges Jones did:
He attempted to get Columbus Police Corporal Sherman Hayes to testify that Elijah Farral knew his deceased victim, Sara Holtrop, was cheating on him, providing moving evidence so that Farral could be charged with murder.
Farral is not currently charged with murder. He is charged with manslaughter in Holtrop’s death in February.
This charge carries one to ten years in prison if convicted. The penalty for a murder conviction could be life in prison without parole, or even death.
Several sources close to the investigation told News 3 that the conversation between Cpl. Hayes and Jones was captured on video. It was an after-hours conversation while Hayes worked on an after-hours security service downtown.
News 3 has contacted Farral’s attorney Stacey Jackson and Jones for comment. Neither could be achieved.
Chris Breault defended Jones in the Civic Center case and after Wednesday’s trial was called off, he tried to link it to the latest indictment.
âI would have to see the facts. And so, again, we’re a little bit in the dark. You know the cops said a lot of things in this case. And I guess that’s another matter they’re talking about. We have to see what the truth is and what the evidence is. “