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Jones Appeal On Murder Charges Denied

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader

The Tennessee Court of Appeals denied the appeal of Willie Nathan Jones on second degree murder and attempted second degree murder charges.

Jones currently serving 37 years on the charges. In a ruling from Judge Robert L. Holloway, Jr, the court affirmed the judgement of the trial court. The appeals court found the defendant’s claims of cumulative errors did not warrant the reversal of Jones’ convictions.

The cumulative error doctrine recognizes that there may be many errors committed in trial proceedings, each of which constitutes mere harmless error in isolation, but ‘have a cumulative effect on the proceedings so great as to require reversal in order to preserve a defendant’s right to a fair trial,’” the judge wrote. “To warrant review under the cumulative error doctrine, there must have been more than one actual error during the trial proceedings. Based on our review, Defendant is not entitled to cumulative error relief.”

A Putnam County jury found Jones guilty in the death of Rodney Richards and the attempted murder of Stacy Maynard at a home on White Oak Flat Road. The incident happened in October, 2015.

In the appeal, Jones contended the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions, the trial court erred by repeatedly referring to Mr. Richards and Ms. Maynard as “victims” throughout trial. Jones also contended the trial court violated Defendant’s due process rights by preventing him from properly impeaching a State’s witness using the sheriff department’s “Use of
Force” and “Critical Incident” guidelines. The appeal said the State violated Defendant’s right to a fair trial by “continuously commenting on the evidence and credibility during closing
arguments” and that the trial court erred by failing to suppress Defendant’s statements to police because he was questioned while tired and under the influence and because Defendant’s request for counsel was not honored.

Further, Jones contended the trial court abused its discretion in ordering consecutive sentencing; and cumulative error necessitates a new trial.


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