Cold Case Squad

LaFayette, Ala., Feb. 9, 2007 -- District Attorney E. Paul Jones has duties covering four counties  -- Macon, Tallapoosa, Chambers, and Randolph.  He says the recent arrest of xxxx for involvement in the death of a xxxx in Lanett is part of "20 or so unsolved murder cases pending...a few older than this one, some newer...I considered the Waites case an unsolved murder because it hadn't been indicted..."

Jones says he cannot as usual comment on the evidence in the case saying "it would violate ethics."  He did say, "There was some newly discovered evidence...the case was relatively close to being taken to the grand jury but we got a break...not a smoking gun, but enough to close the gaps I felt were in the case."

As to not making this a capital murder case Jones tells, "I don't think the facts quite fit a capital murder case..of course the case will go to a jury."

Jones says he would hope the case would go to trial quickly.  He says he will move it ahead of robbery and burglary cases and "hopefully this fall at the latest...fairly quick in a murder case."

Jones says,"If the jury finds him not guilty that needs to be done while he's alive and to his benefit.  Likewise, if they find him guilty it helps to impress on the community we don not let murder go unattended to..."

Paul says there are about 35 or so unsolved cases in his circuit. "I have to believe the bvast majority are probably not solvable, but what we're going to do is have folks look through files.   I have talked to all the law enforcement agencies involved.  I did that about 1.5 years ago.

Paul says he is going to set up a Cold Case Squad of sorts, "I haven't named it yet, but we have a retired FBI and retired ABI agent who have volunteered to be part of this group...We will use their knowledge and expertise to get to as many of these cases as possible.  They will go through one file at a time and review it and tell us things like 'go look at this aspect of the case, find and look at this witness, get this evidence tested or retested.'  If there's DNA involved we will go back and test that and in at least one instance, we will likely have to exhume a body.  We want to help these matters get brough to a conclusion."

Jones says he wants to keep at least three of the cases on his mind at a time.  He says the first meeting of the group will probably take place in Alex City sometime in March and then the group will decide when and how often to meet after that.  He says both retirees live in the Alex City area and he's also waiting to move into new offices in Alex City.

Jones says he has "met with many of the victim's families and many I have not met with yet.  I want to try to avoid getting their hopes up unless we have some really positive developments.  This has been a huge trauma for them and I hate to pour salt on old wounds without the ability to heal some of this down the road."