Mental evaluation ordered for suspect in Hephzibah triple homicide

Ryan David Jones: Attorneys for the public defender's office presented a motion requesting a mental evaluation.

A bond hearing for the suspect in a recent Hephzibah triple homicide has been postponed until a mental evaluation can be conducted.

Attorneys for the public defender’s office presented a motion on behalf of 26-year-old Ryan David Jones requesting the evaluation, stating that evidence exists to suggest Jones could be suffering from a mental illness.

On behalf of the state, District Attorney Natalie Paine consented to the motion and Judge Sheryl B. Jolly signed the order Tuesday, Paine said.

The bond hearing that had been set for Friday can be rescheduled at a later date.

Jones faces charges of murder in the deaths of his parents, Roosevelt Jones, 65, and Edna Jones, 46, and his brother Russell Jones, 20.

The victims’ bodies were discovered May 21 in a field near Deer Chase Elementary School. The bodies were burned in a fire set at the scene.

Investigators believe the family members were shot in their Pinnacle Place Drive home, according to earlier reports in The Augusta Chronicle.

Officers were sent to the home to check on the family after another son called the sheriff’s office because he had been unable to reach anyone at the Hephzibah home.

The couple were retired educators in Richmond County. Russell Jones was a student at Fort Valley State University.

Ryan Jones has one previous criminal case stemming from the purchase of a handgun that had been stolen, said his attorney at the time, Greg Leopard.

His attorney said was no indication Jones was involved in the theft, only that he was foolish to purchase a weapon on the street.

Jones was sentenced to four years of probation under the First Offender Act on Dec. 21, 2007.

He successfully completed the sentence, according to court records.

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