Some serious kudos need to go to the folks at Inside Scoop Online for doing some terrific muckraking in Helena, a city with plenty of muck to rake. The mayor of Helena, former state representative Arnell Willis, has decided to fire at least nine officials in city government and replace them with some of the worst criminals you can imagine in order to repay them for work done on the campaign trail. For example, thereâ€™s the new head of sanitation, Bobby Jones, a two time felon who apparently gets his kick from beating up his wife:
According to public court documents obtained by The Inside Scoop, Prosecuting Attorney Fletcher Long has dropped two felony charges against two-time felon Bobby Jones, who is one of Mayor Arnell Willisâ€™s new department heads, stemming from a 2009 investigation and arrest of Jones by the Phillips County Sheriffâ€™s Office where Jones was accused of beating his wife Shelquala Jones so bad he broke her nose and of threatening to kill another woman, Lekesha Hill.
According to the court file in an affidavit signed by Sheriff Ronnie White, the Sheriffâ€™s Office responded to several calls at the residence of Lekeshia Hill at 245 PC 231 on July 23, 2009. The reasons for the call were conflict between the two Jonesâ€™s. Upon arriving, the Sheriffâ€™s report states that Shel Quala was staying there due to fear of Jones, according to Hill. It goes on to state that Jones broke into Hillâ€™s house and beat both Shel Quala and Hill. When Hill resisted, she reported that Jones said he had a gun and would kill her. After the alleged beatings, Jones then left and the report states that Shel Quala was transported to the hospital where she was treated for a broken nose and swelling to the head.
District Judge Jesse Porter found that there was probable cause and a warrant was issued for Bobby Jonesâ€™s arrest. Jones was subsequently arrested and released, pending trial.
A request from Longâ€™s office to drop the charges was submitted by Deputy Prosecutor Todd Murray on February 15, 2011 and an order was signed by Circuit Judge Richard Proctor on March 2, 2011.
Bobby Jones is a well-known vote hustler in Helena-West Helena and an ardent supporter of new Mayor Arnell Willis. During his first weeks in office, Willis fired Sanitation Department Director Victor Jordan and replaced him with Jones.
According to the court file in this wife-beating case, where Jones was charged with Aggravated Residential Burglary, and 1st Degree Domestic Battery, Jones has two prior felony convictions.
Those two prior convictions by the way are, first, for theft and burglary, and second, for theft by receiving. Such company the mayor keeps. Jones isnâ€™t the only example. Iâ€™ve talked with the folks at Inside Scoop over the weekend and they assure me that there are plenty more where that character came from. All in all, itâ€™s a pretty pathetic show, and Iâ€™m not surprised that Fletcher Long isnâ€™t prosecuting. I can tell you as someone who used to live in Forrest City (which is under his jurisdiction) that heâ€™s long been soft on public corruption AND domestic abuse.