WAXAHACHIE - Testimony has been presented and will continue on Wednesday about the alleged actions of Ellis County Pct. 4 Constable Mike Jones in an effort to remove him from office.
The County and District’s Attorney’s Office brought the civil suit against Jones for a second time, due to his pending criminal charges.
Jones was indicted Feb. 8 for tampering with physical evidence and again for an abuse of official capacity on May 11, 2016. These indictments stem from alleged actions taken during his re-election campaign. He was also indicted on two charges of misuse of official information, one charge of retaliation and one charge of deadly conduct on Aug. 23 for alleged actions against a witness. Jones’ wife, Melva, was indicted on a charge of retaliation on Nov. 29.
Assistant District Attorney William Little told the court in his opening statement on Monday that Jones’ conduct justifies removal from office, which has been evaluated by three grand juries who have returned true bills.
Jones’ attorney Dan Gun stated in his opening remarks that the fact the district attorney’s office has built its case upon are not credible. He noted that the witness — when she left the employment of the Justice of the Peace Pct. 4 Court — never noted in her exit interview that any illegal activity took place, which contradicts her official testimony.
Little then read Jones deposition to the court where Jones invoked the Fifth Amendment to questions asked about his alleged actions.
District Attorney’s Office Chief Investigator Jeff Ward took the stand telling the court his investigation found Jones had used the county email system in connection with his re-election campaign to sell T-shirts and decals and had a witness who saw sales take place in the office. He also noted Jones conducted surveillance on the witness.
County and District Attorney Patrick Wilson testified to Gus that the investigation was driven by what the investigator saw and heard and was not influenced by him.
On day two of the trial, Gus questioned Ward on Tuesday if he was able to substantiate the witness’ statement that campaign T-shirts were sold within the office. Ward stated that a spreadsheet tracking sales were found on a county computer.
Former Constable Pct. 4 Chief Deputy Kenneth Singleton testified to the court that he was granted immunity for his testimony.
In return, the charge of tampering with physical evidence against him would be dropped. He told the court he knew Jones was conducting surveillance of the witness but didn’t participate in it.
He thought that surveillance was a good step to prove the witness was not credible because they believed she lied to the district attorney’s office. He also stated he saw people come into the office for T-shirts but never saw money change hands.
City of Midlothian City Secretary Tammy Varner stated the City of Midlothian has evicted the constable's and the justice of the peace offices from the city-owned building due to disruptive conduct between Jones and Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Steve Steve Egan. She also cited the alleged harassment of the witness who went to work for the city’s municipal court by Jones, his wife Melva, and Singleton.
DAY THREE AND FOUR
Egan told the court in his testimony on Wednesday that he had felt unsafe at his office after a conversation with Jones. This conversation surrounded the firing of Jones’ wife, Melva, in August who served as the court’s court coordinator. Egan stated that Jones demanded an explanation for the firing and Egan stated he wouldn’t discuss it. He added that his clerk called Midlothian Police.
Under cross-examination, Gus played cellphone video recorded by Egan of the exchange. Egan stated in the video to Midlothian Police that Jones had not threatened to physically assault him but threatened him with civil action. Jones is heard on the video apologizing to Midlothian officers for his use of profanity.
Little presented text messages from Melva to other employees about how she describes the witness negatively and actions she would like to do to her. It also was presented that Melva had a letter of reprimand placed in her file for creating a hostile work environment.
Gus presented to the court the deposition of Mary Grisby who was the retired court administrator. Grisby stated in her deposition that Melva was an excellent worker, diligent in responsibilities, and truthful.
On Thursday Gus presented deposition testimony from Jeff Barker, Derek Ortiz, and Rene Moses.
The hearing will resume at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday in the multipurpose courtroom in the Ellis County Courts and Administration Building. The building is located at 109 S. Jackson Street in Waxahachie. The full story of the proceedings will be in Sunday’s edition of the Daily Light.