DAY 2: Witness testimony underway in alleged corruption trial of suspended Columbus D.A. Mark Jones

Wednesday the state began witness testimony with Columbus Police Department Detective, Corporal Sherman Hayes.
Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 10:04 AM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Day two of witness testimony is underway in the alleged corruption trial of suspended Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Mark Jones.

Attorney Chris Breault has been taken into custody for the next 48 hours. The judge met with Breault to go over why Breault was in contempt. The judge ultimately decided to keep him in contempt.

Monday wrapped up around 5 p.m. The day began with the judge sorting out last minute issues before the jurors could come in and be sworn in. Once that was done, opening statements began and the state began calling their witnesses.

The first round of witnesses included two GBI agents, a family member of a murder victim and Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Schwartz. Schwartz testified on two occasions where Jones offered her $1000 bonus to announce a trial was ready that was not.

Wednesday, the State began witness testimony with Columbus Police Department Detective Corporal Sherman Hayes. Hayes testified to the facts uncovered by CPD during the investigation of the death of 18-year-old Sara Holtrop.

Holtrop was shot and killed in February of this year. Hayes told the court he was the lead investigator on the case, and 20-year-old Elijah Farral - the man accused of killing Holtrop - admitted to accidently shooting her in the back while she was asleep on the couch.

Hayes told the court that Farral’s statement corroborated with what investigators uncovered in the investigation.

When handed a thumb drive containing body camera footage of a conversation between suspended District Attorney Jones and three police officers, to include Hayes on a night during the summer, Hayes replied, “Video doesn’t lie.”

Hayes told the court that Jones approached the officers outside the Hooch, a bar in Uptown Columbus.

He said Jones was telling the officers about a conviction case that he just secured during the summer.

Prosecutors played a 10 minute body camera footage of the encounter between Jones and Hayes.

Hayes told the court that Jones asked him to lie on the stand and testify that Elijiah Farral shot and killed the 18-year-old because Farral thought Holtrop was cheating on him.

Hayes told the court that there was no evidence that the pair were not in a romantic relationship with each other.

Hayes said he notified his supervisor at CPD, and the matter was brought up his chain of command.

State prosecutor John Fowler also called now acting District Attorney Sheneeka Terry. Terry testified to Jones allegedly texting her and offering her $1000 to secure a murder conviction.

”....And he responds, if you get a murder conviction, I’ll give you $1000 dollars.”, said Terry. “I had told Mr. Jones that he could not offer any type of compensation outside of our salary. I could not accept any money. None of us, could accept any money. No lawyer could accept money outside of their salary. This oath that I just read, that every attorney signs, says specifically, that we will not take any compensation.”

Jones’ former attorney, Chris Breault, was previously disqualified since he is counted as a witness. Breault took the stand and shortly after the judge and Breault had a disagreement about how court hearing should go.

Below is our coverage on the trial - also found on Facebook. WARNING: Graphic language is heard in testimonies.

Follow WTVM for more updates as we continue coverage on the trial.

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