Jury's Guilty Verdict Follows Belief That Jones Cash Poor

by George Waldon  on Monday, Oct. 18, 2010 12:00 am  

The defense team tried to convince jurors that Jones had no financial motive for burning his house because he and his wife, Abigail, had personal net worth of $4.7 million at the time of the fire.

The net worth they claimed was amassed largely through residential real estate projects in Saline County, in developments such as New Centennial Valley and The Woodlands in Benton and Prospect Park in Bryant and Midtown Bryant.

The prosecution countered with evidence that financial statements Jones submitted to area lenders didn't represent a true picture of his financial condition.

On paper, Jones and his wife appeared to be asset rich. However, their bank statements in the 13 months preceding the fire reflect a poor cash position, unable to sustain monthly expenses that averaged $100,000 for the period.

Jones didn't provide direct testimony, but Abigail Jones did.

"You look terrified," said Judge Miller, as she took the witness stand on Sept. 27. He allowed Jones a few moments to gather her composure before questioning began.

During her testimony, Dudley uttered the burning question regarding motive.

"Were you and Aaron in financial trouble?" he asked.

"No, sir," said Abigail Jones.

Financial Cracks

Testimony during the trial indicated the Joneses avoided consumer debt. They paid off their credit cards every month and paid cash for her 2007 Mercedes-Benz E-Class and his 2008 GMC Yukon Denali.

Real estate was another matter.



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