Chris Jones attorney claims witnesses in apartment support his innocence
Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell, however, said there is “ample, compelling and critical evidence” against Jones
Monday, March 9th 2015, 1:09 pm EDT by
Monday, March 9th 2015, 5:14 pm EDT
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- An attorney for former Louisville basketball player Chris Jones said on Monday that “every single person who was in the apartment” the night Jones is accused of raping two women will support his innocence.
“The evidence in his favor, frankly, is growing every day as we continue our investigation,” defense attorney Scott C. Cox told reporters Monday, shortly after Jones' case was waived to a grand jury. “I don't think the proof will support charges against Chris.”
Cox said there were “numerous” people in the apartment Feb. 22 and alleged that police did not interview these witnesses until after Jones was charged.
Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell, however, said there is “ample, compelling and critical evidence” against Jones, who has pleaded not guilty on charges of rape and sodomy and released on home incarceration.
O'Connell would not discuss the witnesses or specific evidence, saying the case now belongs to Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Wine and his office, which will present it to grand jurors next month.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys for Jones agreed Monday to waive his rape and sodomy cases to a Jefferson County grand jury, rather than call witnesses and have a judge decide if there was enough evidence for the case to move forward.
Cox said it remains to be seen whether Jones will testify before the grand jury, adding, however, that “he has nothing to hide” and had already given a statement to police.
Jefferson District Court Judge Sheila Collins did not change Jones' bond. She has previously released him on home incarceration in lieu of a $25,000 bond. The judge had ordered Jones to have no contact with the alleged victims, one of whom is a student at U of L. The other was taking online classes at Western Kentucky University.
Jones, dressed in a suit, spoke only when asked by Collins if he knew he was waiving his right to a hearing. Jones had several family members in attendance, including his father. His family declined to speak with reporters.
The cases of Jones' two co-defendants were also waived to a grand jury Monday. Jalen D. Tilford and Tyvon Walker are both charged with rape. The complaints filed against those two men indicate three people were involved in the alleged rape but don't specifically mention Jones.
Tilford and Walker are also both on home incarceration.
The alleged incident occurred at the Cardinal Towne Apartment Complex, which is not operated by U of L. Cox said the defense waived the probable cause hearing because U of L Det. John Tarter was going to be the only witness. The grand jury, he said, will hear from all the witnesses
Jones is charged with two counts of rape and two counts of sodomy. According to the warrants, Jones raped and sodomized a woman on Feb. 22 and she was able to identify Jones "because she recognized him as a University of Louisville basketball player" and he told her his name. That woman was examined at the university, one warrant says.
A second warrant says Jones, along with Tilford and Walker, forced a woman to have intercourse and oral sex. She also identified Jones as a U of L player, according to the warrant. She was taken to University Hospital, where she was treated.
from U of L's team last month.
Head Coach Rick Pitino had suspended Jones for Louisville's game at Syracuse on Feb. 18. Jones was reinstated after the game because he “took care of what the coaches wanted,” Pitino said. The matter, Pitino said, concerned “discipline on campus.”
Jones returned from the one-game suspension and scored 17 points in a 55-53 home win against Miami. The next day, U of L announced Jones had been dismissed from the team.
In response to a request under the Kentucky Open Records Act, U of L police released a Feb. 17 “run report” alleging Jones threatened in a text message to
with whom he was having a relationship.
According to the U of L police report, a university student claimed she went to Jones' apartment early on Feb. 17 and waited for him, but he didn't return. The woman, whose name was redacted on the report, claimed she left around 3 a.m. and acknowledged “messing up” his room.
Later that day, around 2 p.m., Jones allegedly texted the woman that he would “smack TF out of” her (sic), the report says.
The woman did not want Jones prosecuted, instead saying in the report that she “preferred that someone talk to him about his behavior.” U of L's Dean of Students was to be notified of the incident, according to the report.
The university's response to the records request also indicated that there is one additional “record” involving Jones but did not release it, citing an open investigation by the school's Department of Public Safety.
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