Attorneys in death penalty case challenge DA Mark Jones’ leave and force him back into the courtroom

State/Regional

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – A day after requesting leave, Muscogee County District Attorney Mark Jones was forced back into court Thursday by attorneys in a case scheduled in front of Superior Court Judge Gil McBride.

The attorneys for murder co-defendants Rebecca Smith Haynie and Donald Keith Phillip objected to Jones’ leave request, filed yesterday. Jones had originally asked to be off from Sept. 8 – Oct. 11, 2021. He later amended that request to end the leave on Sept. 28.

The hearing had been scheduled prior to Jones’ emergency leave request.

Jones was indicted Tuesday by a Grand Jury on nine counts of alleged criminal misconduct while in office.

Haynie’s and Phillip’s defense attorneys were challenging Jones’ recent decision to seek the death penalty in the 2014 murder of Haynie’s husband, Kirby Smith.

His current leave request runs through Sept. 28.

He is also facing a likely suspension in the wake of the charges.

While Jones’ decision to seek the death penalty was being challenged in court, the mother of a 2017 Columbus murder victim is upset with the way that Jones has handled her son’s case.

As three suspects await trial for the murder of Javion Shorter, his mom, Tangi Shorter, just wants justice and closure.

And she does not feel like she’s getting that from the district attorney.

Here’s what she says happened on an August 31st phone call.

“Hey, this is Mark Jones. Is this Tangi Shorter? I am like, ‘Yes, this is Tangi Shorter.’ I am calling you in reference to one of the defendants on your son’s murder trial wants to plead out to a lesser and do 10 years. I am like, ‘It’s a no go.”

She then explained she was at work and could not discuss the matter then. Jones continued.

“Well, do you want them to be acquitted or do you want to take a plea? Do you want them to get out or do you want one of your son’s murders to getaway. I am like, ‘Dude, I am at work. I will talk to you later.”

A few days later Shorter was critical of Jones on social media. That sparked another contact.

Monday night at 9:00 p.m. , on Labor Day, Jones showed up at her home hours after the social media post. He called her from the driveway and said he wanted to talk.

“My husband says somebody is sitting out there in a car. Do you know who that is. I said, ‘Naw.’ I don’t like company and I am already in my nightclothes.”

Jones didn’t stop there. He came up to the house and rang the doorbell. Shorter’s security system captured it.

She has some advice for the DA on how to deal with the victim’s family members.

“What you should have did was call me before you got there earlier or you could have called me between business hours – 9 to 5.”

Since that Labor Day night visit, Jones has been indicted on felony corruption charges, arrested, and taken leave of office for the next couple of weeks.

Shorter takes no pleasure in the DA’s legal troubles.

“That situation has nothing with me. I am not about to cheer on somebody while going through something. He’s got to give account to God not me.”

There is a deadline on this case because it is scheduled for trial on Sept. 27 in front of Superior Court Judge Ben Land.

Nashira Miller, Daijon Williams, and Javon McClendon have been charged with the murder of Javion Shorter.

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