The legal entanglements for former Mt. Carmel Mayor Christopher Scott Jones continued this week, and they could markedly intensify in the coming days, officials said this morning.
Meeting in a special session, a Hawkins County grand jury on Wednesday indicted Jones, 49, for official misconduct. Jones allegedly used official town letterhead and an official Mt. Carmel stamp in an effort to have his estranged girlfriend, Amber Hale, evicted from the rented home they once shared, according to Teddy Collingsworth, a criminal investigator with the district attorney’s office.
The owner of the house, former Mt. Carmel Alderman Carl Wolfe, posted the counterfeit eviction notice. Wolfe was not indicted. Hale was not evicted at that time, but Wolfe later obtained a legal eviction notice, and Hale was displaced, according to Collingsworth.
Jones was released from the Hawkins County Jail after posting a $10,000 bond, but that situation won’t last if the DA’s office gets its way.
Assistant District Attorney General Akai Highsmith confirmed this morning that bond-revocation proceedings against Jones are scheduled for August 21. Jones was released from jail after he was indicted in February for theft over $250,000 for allegedly swindling his dementia-stricken grandmother out of more than $300,000.
Since that time, Highsmith says, Jones has been charged with domestic assault in Hawkins County in another incident involving his estranged girlfriend and for criminal simulation and criminal impersonation in Sullivan County. The prosecutor says he believes those alleged crimes are enough to revoke Jones’ bail and keep him behind bars until the cases are adjudicated.
After Jones was charged with domestic assault on May 28, a no-contact order prevented from returning home where Hale still lived. The alleged bogus eviction notice, which was drafted in early June, apparently was a means to get rid of Hale so he could continue to live in the rental home.
The criminal simulation and criminal impersonation cases involved Jones allegedly using a Mt. Carmel police officer’s badge to falsely represent he was a law enforcement official. That incident was captured on Walmart surveillance video, authorities say.
The official-misconduct charge is the only allegedly offense Jones is facing that’s related to his former employment as mayor. The Mt. Carmel Board of Mayor and Alderman formally accepted Jones’ resignation last week. Both Jones and Wolfe resigned in June, according to Collingsworth.