Originally created 01/13/04

Family buries four of its own following Georgia killings



CALHOUN, Ga. -- Relatives of four slain family members prepared to bury their own Monday as they expressed frustration over failed attempts to distance themselves from the man suspected in the killings.

A wake and funeral service were planned at Trinity Baptist Church for Tom and Nola Blaylock, their daughter, Georgia Bradley, and their 10-month-old granddaughter, Harley Jones, who were killed Wednesday at their trailer homes in Ranger, a tiny town about 55 miles north of Atlanta.

Suspect Jerry William Jones remained in a Tennessee hospital for treatment of a self-inflicted gunshot wound he suffered as he was being arrested Thursday.

Jones had lived with Melissa Peeler, the Blaylocks' daughter, and the couple had three children together, including the infant girl who was killed.

Authorities have said the killings apparently were the result of a jealous rampage by Jones, who had been dumped by Peeler. The victims' relatives said they had wanted Jones out of their lives for some time.

"Every time she would set up with another residence, Jones would stake his way back in," David O'Donnell, the Blaylocks' son-in-law, said of Peeler.

"He was a snake in the grass in every way," O'Donnell said as the family headed into the afternoon wake.

Bradley's son, Terry Baker, said his mother talked Jones out of committing suicide only a week before the killings. Baker said he overheard the telephone conversation between Bradley and Jones while at his mother's home.

"He was angry that he and Melissa split up. She told him 'You don't need to do it. There are better things in life than committing suicide,"' Baker said.

Besides the killings, Jones is accused of kidnapping three children - his two other daughters and his former stepdaughter. The girls were found unharmed just over the Tennessee line when Jones was captured following a police chase Thursday.

Jones' condition at the Erlanger Medical Center in East Ridge, Tenn., was not being released. The hospital had reported last week that Jones was in critical condition, but spokeswoman Jan Powell said Monday that he was in "confidential status."

East Ridge, Tenn., police Lt. Tim Mullinax said the department was continuing a round-the-clock watch at the hospital.

"I think he is possibly going to be undergoing some more surgery," Mullinax said. "I seriously doubt if the hospital would think about releasing him at least for another week."

Mullinax said he did not know if Jones has requested an attorney.

Associated Press Bill Poovey in Chattanooga, Tenn., contributed to this story.