Hearing held for District Attorney Mark Jones’ criminal damages case following mistrial
COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Columbus’ District Attorney Mark Jones will have to wait a little longer to learn if he’ll face another jury in a case that recently ended in a mistrial.
During a brief virtual hearing presided by Judge Jeffrey Monroe from his Macon office, with lawyers from both side in attendance, Attorney Brian Patterson gave the state’s position on the case.
Patterson said after talking with jurors whom expressed their frustrations with the case, he plans to filed a detailed motion called, Nolle Prosequi, a Latin term that means, “not to wish to prosecute” to the court by Friday.
As the hearing proceeded Patterson did not absolve Jones of guilt, but did confirm that the jurors’ dissatisfaction did influence the decision.
“My review revealed that there is direct and circumstantial evidence that tends to point to the guilt Mr. Jones and Mr. Whittington,” said Patterson.
Patterson added the state no longer believes it is in their interest to move forward with the case. This does not mean the case is over, however. Judge Monroe still has the final decision on whether or not to retry the case. He said he will make that decision after the state’s motion is filed before the court.
”The case marches forward until [the motion] is actually in hand,” said Monroe.
Jones and his co-defendant Erik Whittington were on trial for a day and a half before the case abruptly ended last Wednesday because a witness admitted to sharing WTVM’s live stream of the proceeding on their social media page.
Both defendants are charged with criminal damage to property, a felony which carries 1-10 years and interference with government property, which carries 1-5 years in prison.
Jones was also indicted on charges that stem from two different incidents. One is from a DUI on Nov. 11, 2019 where Jones injured a woman. The jury has charged Jones with three counts of serious injury by vehicle, one count of driving recklessly and two counts of driving under the influence.
The second was a 9-count indictment that accuses Jones of two counts of bribery, alleging that he offered to pay $1000 to his Assistant DA’s for a murder conviction.
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