County worker likely to be terminated

Published 12:03 am Saturday, September 10, 2011

NATCHEZ — Even though Adams County maintenance supervisor Allen Jones pleaded “no contest” instead of “not guilty” to embezzlement charges Thursday, Adams county Board Attorney Bobby Cox said Jones will likely be terminated.

Jones, a longtime county employee, has been on unpaid administrative leave since the Mississippi Attorney General’s office launched an investigation into the charges prior to his December arrest.

Jones, 53, 43 Kingston Road, pleaded nolo contendere or “no contest” to a charge of selling a $935 county-owned, 5-ton air-conditioning unit to Sunflower Baptist Church for $1,607.08 in August 2008.

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The Public Integrity Division of the Attorney General’s Office prosecuted Jones’ case.

Judge Lillie Blackmon Sanders accepted his plea of nolo contendere. Sanders ordered a non-adjudication of guilt and sentenced him Thursday to pay restitution and be placed on one year of supervised probation.

“If one wishes not to contest, that’s a quasi-confession of guilty,” Cox said. “From what I know (Jones) will be terminated at next board meeting officially.”

District Attorney Ronnie Harper said a nolo contendere is also considered a “best interest” plea. Despite no admission of guilt, clients pleading nolo contendere presume throwing themselves at the mercy of the court is in their best interest due to the likeliness of evidence to produce a conviction.

Jones’ indictment stated he obtained a county purchase order under the guise of purchasing an air conditioning unit for Pine Tree Tech Center and instead sold it to a church.