Mr. Jones, 62, a veteran teacher who showed chickens and judged chicken contests in his spare time, was found beaten to death just before 6 p.m..
Firefighters called to Mr. Jones' Tobacco Road home found him lying in the front yard. Investigators realized Mr. Jones' Ford truck was missing, and they put out an alert for the vehicle.
A deputy stopped Paul F. Blevins, 56, who was driving the truck, less than 20 minutes later, said Richmond County sheriff's Sgt. Richard Roundtree.
Mr. Blevins was charged with driving under the influence. Investigators believe stains on his clothing were blood, Sgt. Roundtree said Friday in a news release.
On Friday, the detective said Mr. Blevins had worked for Mr. Jones, caring for his chickens. The men hadn't been in contact for a couple of years before Thursday, he said.
Mr. Blevins is charged with murder, but other charges will be determined after the fire department completes its investigation, Sgt. Roundtree said.
Mr. Jones was an educator for more than 30 years. He was the longest-serving headmaster in the Georgia Independent School Association, with 27 years of service.
Mr. Jones' leadership and experience were critical in helping Edmund Burke Academy recover from a 2001 fire, Headmaster Brent Cribb said.
"He took Edmund Burke through some tough times," Mr. Cribb said. "He was just a true educator. He cared about children. He had a heart for it."
Principal Veta New, of Hephzibah High School, where Mr. Jones was teaching, agreed with Mr. Cribb's assessment.
Mr. Jones was "gentle and wise," she said. He taught geography and world history.
"He was well-liked by all the faculty at the school and seemed to be by all the children, too," Dr. New said.
The only thing that seemed to be troubling him recently was the theft of some of his chickens, she said.
Sgt. Roundtree said it seemed impossible to tell whether any birds were harmed or stolen during the homicide: "There are too many to tell."
There were some personal items stolen, some of which were recovered with Mr. Blevins, the detective said. He declined to describe the items.
Mr. Blevins has a previous conviction for two counts of making terroristic threats. He was sentenced to five years' probation in July 2001, according to Richmond County Superior Court records.
Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.