Killer of Macon dog wants new trial

A Macon man who was sentenced in 2008 to serve six years in prison for killing a dog that was threatening his pet chickens is asking for a new trial.

Jeffrey Paul Jones, 45, is being held at the Coweta County Prison after being convicted of killing Emax, a 9-year-old mixed-breed pit bull belonging to Otis Redding III.

A veterinarian testified at the February 2008 trial held in Bibb County that the dog suffered three neck lacerations that were caused by a machete in May 2006.

Jones’ attorneys said the killing was justified because Jones was protecting his chickens.

Defense attorney Floyd Buford argued Monday that Jones wanted to testify at the trial but was not allowed.

“It was important for me to get the chance to look at the jury and tell my side of it,” Jones testified Monday. “I was portrayed as violent and cold and murderous.”

He said he wanted to tell the jury about his pet chickens and how they — like the pit bull — were named and had personalities.

Jones said he also wanted to rebut some of the testimony against him.

Instead, he contends his attorneys made the decision that he wouldn’t testify.

But attorneys Holly DeRosa Hogue and Jeffrey Powers, who represented Jones in the 2008 trial, testified Monday that Jones chose not to testify.

“All three of us made that decision,” Powers said.

Bibb County assistant district attorney Kim Schwartz said Jones didn’t perform well when he practiced being questioned on the witness stand with his lawyers prior to the trial.

Powers said Jones’ testimony wouldn’t have added much to the case since his statement to police was admitted into evidence. Buford also argued that the judge, Senior Chief Judge E. Byron Smith of the Towaliga Judicial Circuit, failed to instruct the jury not to hold Jones’ failure to testify against him as a sign of guilt during their deliberations.

Hogue and Powers said they requested the instructions be given, and the judge agreed.

“I think it’s an important charge,” Hogue said.

Schwartz, who prosecuted the case, confirmed that the defense lawyers asked that the instructions be read to the jury.

Hogue and Powers testified they didn’t realize the judge had failed to give the instructions until preparations were under way for the motion for a new trial.

The motion for a new trial also cites a lack of evidence and concerns about photos of the dog admitted into evidence as reasons why Jones should be granted a new trial, according to court records.

Bibb County Superior Court Chief Judge Martha Christian instructed the lawyers to file legal briefs supporting their positions by Friday.