Investigator Tim Clift, of the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office, testified before Judge John Lowrimore in Spalding County Magistrate Court, seeking to establish probable cause for Jones’ case to be bound over.
According to Clift, he was initially called in to investigate a possible assault at 940 Walkers Mill Road involving William Franklin Moore, who had sustained multiple stab wounds, but upon his arrival, he soon learned of another potential crime.
“One co-defendant started talking about a murder — someone they had killed,” Clift said.
Clift told the court that a woman had informed him of an alleged text message from Jones stating a murder had occurred.
“He (Jones) stated to her that he did not kill this person, but he did hit him with a bat,” he said.
Clift said due to the extent of his injuries, Moore was flown to an Atlanta-area hospital for treatment, but that others present at the scene provided conflicting accounts of the events that had transpired.
Clift now says his investigation shows that Jones, Moore and a third co-defendant, 18-year-old Justin Cody Tuggle, went with Harmon to a residence within the Runaway Lake subdivision to buy drugs. It was at some point prior to the drug purchase that authorities say a plan was devised to rob Harmon.
The individual from whom the drugs were to be purchased was asked if the robbery could be committed in his yard, but he refused to allow that, which led the suspects to drive to a second location — a vacant lot — in the subdivision, where Harmon was robbed and killed, Clift said.
He described Harmon’s cause of death as blunt-force trauma to the head and stab wounds.
In addition to having been struck in the head with a baseball bat, Clift said the victim also sustained a stab wound to the head, a second to the leg and a third to the side.
Authorities say Moore’s injuries, which included several stab wounds to the groin area and back, may have been inflicted defensively by Harmon.
When asked what was stolen from Harmon following his death, Clift said, “From what I can gather, approximately $40.”
Upon cross-examination by Diana Davis, Jones’ defense attorney, Clift said several items possibly used in the attack such as three knives and a baseball bat have been recovered and sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab for further testing.
Davis then questioned Clift regarding her client’s appearance upon the arrival of law enforcement personnel.
“In your experience, wouldn’t you expect someone who swung a bat at someone to have blood splatter on their clothing?” she asked.
“Yes, I would,” Clift replied.
“But there was no blood on the defendant’s clothes?” she continued.
“None, but it’s been sent out for testing,” he said.
Davis contended that Moore and Tuggle, both of whom did have blood on their clothing, may have been involved in the commission of a crime, but that Jones was not. Furthermore, Davis alleged that the woman who reportedly has a text message from her client has yet to produce that evidence and is a close friend of Jones’ co-defendants, which may give her a motive to lie in an effort to falsely implicate Jones.
Despite Davis’ arguments, Lowrimore ruled the state had presented probable cause to bind Jones over to stand trial for crimes related to Harmon’s death.