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New judge wants more answers in Jones case

Billy Luther Jones’ most recent stand before a judge ended with more questions than answers. After admitting to five felonies last year resulting from scamming and stealing more than $200,000 from over half a dozen victims, Judge Lynn Brown sentenced Jones to 30 years of unsupervised probation, along with requirements to submit his annual tax return and make payments of $100 each month.
Failing to meet even these meager efforts, the District Attorney General’s office filed a motion for just cause to bring Jones before Judge Robert Culp last Friday. Now nearly eight years into the legal process, the victims involved have been disheartened about the possibility of finally finding justice, but were there to witness the proceedings nonetheless.
Represented by attorney Randolph Fallin, Jones made his case by stating that he had not filed a tax return since 2006 because of his financial status. Judge Culp was not so easily appeased and after briefly looking at the large sums of money that Jones was convicted of stealing, decided to reset the case until September. Fallin protested on Jones’ behalf, explaining that a pay schedule had already been set up for his fines. Yet, at just $100 for each victim once every five months, Judge Culp was clearly not satisfied, stating that, ”I find it hard to believe that there aren’t any more assets. Something needs to be done about it.”
While the victims are now facing yet another delay, many of them simply seemed relieved that the issue hasn’t completely faltered. “I’m just relieved he is looking into it really,” said Terry Wallace who lost over $100,000 after Jones sold him and his wife land he did not own.  “I’m glad that Culp is at least giving us a chance to look into it rather than just push it on through and let him go. I was 100% sure he was just going to get sent on out the door.”
Terry’s wife Elizabeth seemed equally relieved, but also newly energized to resume the fight. “I am hoping that he will let the victims speak and show the evidence they have gathered, including where Jones has been working at the Tri-Cities Flea Market for the last three years,” she said.  “There is more money coming into him. He is able bodied enough to work and is out there every weekend. He has supposedly been dying since at least 2006 when I first met him. He says he doesn’t have to file taxes. If he is so low income now that he doesn’t have to file, then my taxes are paying for his medical bills anyway. I would just as soon my tax money pay for his medical in the penitentiary than out here in the public where he can continue to get health care and take peoples lives away and destroy them.”
The subject of Jones’ age and health has been one of the most contentious issues of the case, with Judge Brown finding last year that he was in too poor shape to serve a sentence behind bars. Surprisingly, the assessment was made without any hard evidence that Jones has a legitimate health problem, and despite video played by the victims showing Jones loading a cart and selling goods at the flea market in Bluff City.
Yet, the real fear voiced by most of the local victims is that Jones is allegedly making new connections and setting up to scam someone else. Already, Wallace has stated that concerned individuals have approached her from Bluff City who were trying to verify to their family members many of the same things Jones told her.

To read the entire article, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.