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Clinton Jones, 41, of West Ashley, S.C., was arrested Tuesday and charged with solicitation to commit murder. Jones did not enter a plea during a Wednesday bond hearing, but his wife begged a judge to keep him behind bars and away from their children.
“He has no remorse, and he needs to stay behind bars. I beg of you not to let him out,” Michelle Jones told a judge. “I’m afraid for my life.”
But the couple’s 18-year-old daughter, April Jones, is torn between her mother and father. Jones sobbed and shouted, “I love you, dad” in court after a judge denied bail and ordered him to keep away from the family.
“That’s my mom asking for no contact! I want contact with my father!” April Jones said after the hearing.
On Monday, a witness contacted police after Jones asked about hiring a hitman to kill his wife, according to an affidavit.
Prosecutors said Clinton Jones offered $8,000 to an undercover cop on New Year’s Eve to do the killing. Investigators said Jones believed his wife was about to leave him and take their four children, according to the police report.
According to police, Jones gave the undercover officer his wife’s photo and a work address and asked him to make sure that he “finish off” his wife because he did not want to visit her in the hospital. Jones, according to an affidavit, was going to pay for the hit with insurance money.
Jones appeared at the bond hearing via jailhouse video, sitting in a wheelchair.
“I don’t know why I even talked about such a thing. It’s not me. I’ve never hurt anybody in my life. I’ve done nothing but help people,” Jones said.
Family members say Jones, who is on disability, hasn’t been the same since surviving a massive fire at a sofa store in 2007 that killed nine other firefighters.
Michelle Jones told the court that her husband’s disability is no excuse for his alleged actions. “This cannot be blamed on medication. [this statement indicates that the defence was blaming medication.] This was a sick plan, thought out, to take my life. To leave our kids with no mother,” Michelle Jones told the court.
Clinton Jones’ niece, Melissa Walker, said the whole family is devastated.
“I mean, I love my uncle, but when you go to the extreme of wanting to hire someone to murder you wife, that is life-changing,” she said.