Suspect in Danville officer’s fatal shooting indicted on 10 counts, could face death penalty

Herschel Ray Jones III

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio (AP) – A man whose ex-girlfriend told police he left her house “looking to kill a cop” was indicted Monday in last month’s fatal shooting of an officer and could face the death penalty if convicted, prosecutors said.

The 10-count indictment issued in Knox County included charges of aggravated murder against 32-year-old Herschel Ray Jones III.

The body of 34-year-old Danville Officer Thomas Cottrell was found behind the village’s municipal building late on Jan. 17, shortly after Jones’ ex-girlfriend called police. She said Jones had threatened her and was armed.

Danville Police Officer Thomas Cottrell, was found dead near the municipal building in the village.
Danville Police Officer Thomas Cottrell, was found dead near the municipal building in the village.

Dispatchers tried to make contact with Cottrell after receiving the tip, but they couldn’t reach him.

Jones was spotted at around 1:30 a.m. running from a home, police said. He was taken into custody following a short foot chase.

Jones was jailed, and it wasn’t clear if he had an attorney.

Officials said Cottrell was an auxiliary officer in Danville, about 50 miles northeast of Columbus, who mainly worked on the weekends. He was hired by the police department a few months ago. His full-time job was a mixer driver for Ellis Brothers Concrete in nearby Mount Vernon. He had three daughters and was engaged to a school nurse.

Jones has a lengthy criminal history and in one case tried to claim he was legally insane, according to court records. Knox County court records showed Jones had multiple convictions for breaking and entering, burglary, receiving stolen property and carrying a concealed weapon dating back to 2001. In a 2011 case, he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity before changing his plea to guilty.

Ohio prison records showed Jones served nearly four years for the 2011 convictions on charges of receiving stolen property and possession of chemicals for manufacture of drugs. He was released last April.

 

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