Accused killer Jerry Jones sits in court at his pretrial hearing ij December 2005 in Calhoun, Ga. Jones has pleaded guilty to killing three of his ex-girlfriend's relatives and his own infant daughter. Jones also is accused of abducting three other children at the time of the killings in January 2004. He was caught in East Ridge.Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
CALHOUN, Ga. -- A man convicted of killing his infant daughter and three of his ex-wife's family members now believes he is targeted in a financial conspiracy led by police, a psychiatrist testified Friday.
Psychiatrist Dr. Jordan Woods testified that, when he evaluated convicted killer Jerry Jones on Thursday, the man said he was a member of the Dow Jones family and was being targeted for his wealth.
These statements and other documented hallucinations prompted Woods to diagnose Jones with a severe psychotic illness and find him incompetent to continue with the appeals process for his death penalty case, the psychiatrist testified.
A hearing Friday in Gordon County was to review Jones' mental competency before proceeding with his motions for a new trial. District Attorney Joe Campbell said the evaluations were conducted after Jones had several outbursts in prison.
Both Woods and the prosecution's expert witness, psychologist Glen King, evaluated Jones and concluded that he now is incompetent.
But the family of Jones' ex-wife Melissa Peeler said they believe he is faking so he doesn't have to face what he's done.
"He's an animal," said Staline Baker, Peeler's brother. "Is he incompetent? No, he's not."
At the end of the hearing, Gordon County Superior Court Judge Carey Nelson said he will make a decision next week on how to proceed. Jones could be ordered to have another evaluation to decide how he should be treated and if he can regain competency to continue with the appeal process.
Jones pleaded guilty in 2005 to killing Tom and Nola Blaylock, their daughter Georgia May Bradley and Jones' 10-month-old daughter, Jerri.
Police testified Jones killed the family as an act of revenge against Peeler, his common-law wife, who was trying to end the relationship.
Jones shot the Blaylocks, who were Peeler's mother and stepfather, in January 2004. Bradley, who was Peeler's sister, and Jones' daughter were strangled with a cord.
Jones then fled the Ranger, Ga., home while kidnapping three other children, two of them his own. Police chased Jones up Interstate 75 to exit 1 at East Ridge, where he crashed, then shot himself in the face in an unsuccessful suicide attempt. None of the children was harmed.
Jones pleaded guilty in 2008, and a jury sentenced him to death.
At the time, Jones' attorney Jack Martin said he was competent to understand his decision. But on Friday, Martin said Jones has been mentally deteriorating over the years.
"He's just gone off the deep end," Martin said.
During court testimony Friday, Woods testified that Jones said he had spoken to his children while in prison. In court, when Woods said Jones hasn't seen his children in eight years, Jones interrupted.
"That's not true," he mumbled.
Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...