WISE COUNTY, VA (WJHL) – Wise County Sheriff Ronnie Oakes said a Big Stone Gap, Va. man has been arrested on charges related to the November 2016 murder of a Southwest Virginia woman.
Deputies said on Nov. 27, 2016 Janina Jefferson was found murdered in Appalachia at the town water plant.
“Daily there’s questions asked of me ‘is there any closure’ or in other words ‘has a fugitive been captured,'” Fred Luntsford, city manager of Appalachia, said. “Everyone is sad, of course, that it happened and wants to bring it to an end.”
Jefferson’s ex-husband Eric Monroe Jones, 46, is wanted on charges of first-degree murder, use of a firearm while committing first-degree murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, felony probation violation for underlying charge of attempted murder-for-hire.
Authorities said Jones is considered armed and dangerous.
“We have several areas we’re looking at and we have resources in those areas where we are watching those addresses and we hope that anyone that has information will come forward,” Maj. Grant Kilgore, with the Wise County Sheriff’s Office, said.
Before the murder, the sheriff’s office says Jones was charged with assault and battery, strangulation and trespassing.
In addition, Jacob Seth Rowland, 24, of Big Stone Gap, is charged with acting as an accessory in the murder of Jefferson. He is currently in custody.
He faces charges of trespassing, violating a protective order as a principal in the second-degree, conspiracy with Jones to intimidate Jefferson or impede her testimony against Jones by threats of bodily harm or force and that he conspired with Jones to violate a protective order. He faces a total maximum punishment of 71 years of incarceration.
It’s believed that Rowland drove Jones to see Jefferson. Deputies say Rowland knew there was a protective order in place that prevented Jones from having any contact with Jefferson.
He also allegedly knew about the pending charges against Jones and that Jones wanted to prevent Jefferson from testifying against him in those cases.
If you have any information that can help deputies find Jones call the Wise County Sheriff’s Office at 276-328-3756.
Oakes said his office is working with several agencies including the U.S. Marshals. Last month, News Channel 11 reported the U.S. Marshal Service is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Jones.
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