Joe Campbell, District Attorney for Gordon County, said the hearing is a step towards an appeals process for Jones’ death row sentence and psychiatrists from both sides, who have examined Jones, are expected to testify.
Campbell said anyone who is on death row has the opportunity to file a direct appeal, since the death penalty is the harshest and most closely-examined sentence.
“We are talking about someone’s life or death,” he said. “It (court proceedings where the death penalty is a possibility) is the most scrutinized type of litigation.”
At next Friday’s hearing, Jones’ defense attorneys and the Gordon County District Attorney’s Office are expected to present their findings from previous psychiatric evaluations of Jones to Gordon County Superior Court Judge Carey Nelson.
Jones’ defense has not yet officially filed documents for an appeal, according to Campbell.
The attorneys had the chance to do so during an Aug. 5 hearing, which took place in order to set a date for the competency hearing, he said.
Ultimately, Campbell said, the hearing will address Jones’ sanity. The decision that lies before Judge Nelson will be, “does Jones understand what’s going on?” Campbell explained.
According to previous coverage:
Jones pleaded guilty in 2006 to killing four people, including his 10-month-old daughter, Jerri Georgia Jones, his daughter with former girlfriend Melissa Peeler; Georgia Mae Bradley, Peeler’s sister; and Tom and Nola Blaylock, Peeler’s stepfather and mother.
On Jan. 7, 2004, Jones went to the home of Bradley; bound her arms behind her back with duct tape and questioned her about why her sister, his longtime girlfriend, Melissa Peeler, left him. He then cut her clothes off, taped her face with duct tape, strangled her, put a plastic bag over her head and shoved her in a closet.
Jones then waited for Tom Blaylock to leave his home, shot him and covered his body with a tarp before going into the Blaylock’s house and shooting Nola Blaylock three times.
Jones also killed his 10-month-old daughter, Jerri Georgia Jones, by hanging her with an electrical cord.
A police chase ensued when Jones kidnapped Peeler’s three children, including his daughter, Brandy Jones. Jerry Jones crashed the vehicle in a suburb of Chattanooga.
The three children were not hurt, however, Jerry Jones attempted to commit suicide by shooting himself in the face.