Mere hours after leading the town’s monthly BMA meeting on Thursday evening, Mount Carmel Mayor Christopher “Chris” Jones was arrested for domestic assault against his girlfriend, Amber Page Hale, 32.
According to the police report filed by Hawkins Co. Sheriff’s Deputy Dustin Winters, the HCSO responded to a domestic assault complaint at around 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 28 at Jones’ 337 Hemlock St. residence.
Upon his arrival, Winters questioned Hale, “who stated that she had been assaulted by Christopher Jones, who she lives with.”
Winters’ report further states that “She (Hale) told me that the two had gotten into an argument over her removing the TV from his room. That is when, according to the victim, the suspect shoved her to the ground. I did observe an abrasion on the victim’s elbow. The victim stated that she was afraid of the suspect as well.”
When Winters questioned Jones, “he stated that no assault had taken place.”
As of Friday, Jones was being held in the Hawkins County Jail without bond pending arraignment Monday in Sessions Court. On Monday, the case was rescheduled for June 29.
Jones was also released from jail on Monday on an O.R. (Own Recognizance) bond, which means that no bail money is paid to the court and no bond is posted. He was also ordered to have no contact with Hale.
Indicted on theft over $250,000
Readers may also remember that Jones was arrested on Feb. 10 on a Hawkins County grand jury sealed indictment warrant on one count of theft over $250,000.
Jones spent 12 days in jail and was released on Feb. 21 after making his $100,000 bail.
Theft over $250,000 is a Class A Felony punishable by 15-25 years in prison if found guilty.
The charges stem from allegations that Jones, 48, stole more than $300,000 from his elderly grandmother’s estate in West Virginia prior to her death in 2016.
During the course of the investigation, agents developed information that between November 2014 and January 2016, Jones allegedly stole the money from his grandmother and her estate by writing checks from her account to himself for false reimbursements.
Jones has stated in published reports that it was his grandmother’s wishes, before her death in 2016, that he have the money, and that while she did, in fact have a will, because she had essentially given him certain money prior to her death, that it did not have to be so stated in the will.
Although the alleged crime happened in West Virginia, Tennessee has jurisdiction because at least some of the money that was taken ended up in a bank in Hawkins County, Third District Attorney General Dan Armstrong said.
Jones had been noticeably absent from the town’s monthly BMA meetings since January, but he presided over the town’s May 14 budget meeting as well as the May 28 BMA meeting.
Because he has not been convicted of the aforementioned charge, and he has not been charged with any malfeasance within the municipal government, the BMA currently has no authority to remove him from office.
Jones is set to appear before Judge John Duggar in Sneedville on July 1 to announce if he will proceed to his trial that is scheduled for July 29 in Hawkins County Criminal Court in Rogersville.
Jones’ neck slashed at Kingsport motel
Just one month ago, Jones and Hale were also involved an incident that brought Kingsport Police Officers to Jones’ motel room at the Americourt extended-stay Motel, which is located at 1900 American Way in Kingsport.
Around 12:30 a.m. on April 27, Jones was transported to Holston Valley Hospital after police found him in the breezeway of his motel room with a laceration to the neck.
According to KPD Officer Aaron Goddard’s report, when police asked Jones about the nature of his injury, “he stated that he fell on a knife.”
“I arrived and located Chris laying on his right side in the breezeway near the doorway of room 282,” reads Goddard’s report. “I observed Chris with a shirt wrapped around his neck. I observed Chris to have dried blood on his chest, abdomen, and on his shorts. I also observed Chris had a fairly wide laceration on his left elbow. I observed blood to be partially coagulated and not freely bleeding. I asked Chris who had done this and he stated that he fell on a knife. I asked Chris where he was cut. Chris pulled the shirt away from his neck and I observed a laceration from near the bottom of Chris’s left ear downward around the side of his neck and toward his chest.”
Goddard then questioned Hale, who told police that when asked how she knew Jones, “she had been living with Chris in room 282 for approximately four weeks but was not on the lease.”
Goddard further stated in his report that Hale was a suspect.