Appeal dropped in Chenal Valley arson UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Monday, March 28, 2011

Appeal dropped in Chenal Valley arson UPDATE

Posted By on Mon, Mar 28, 2011 at 11:37 AM

Arkansas Business reports that Aaron Jones, the lawyer convicted of a scheme to burn his Chenal Valley mansion to reap insurance proceeds, is dropping appeal of his conviction and also moving to settle with the insurance company. The down side of appealing was the government's desire to extend his 10-year sentence.

Earlier, his family had posted a reward for arrest of people Jones said tied him up in a home intrusion and set the house on fire. They insisted on Jones' innocence.

UPDATE: I spoke today with Jones' sister, Linda Elder. She said the family still believes in his innocence and still has a $50,000 reward for information leading to the people responsible for the robbery and fire. She said Jones began serving his sentence in October at a minimum security unit in Texarkana, Texas. He weighed the time, cost and potential heavier sentence of an appeal and potential retrial of the case and then decided to begin doing the time. "He didn't want to take that chance," she said.

Elder said the family would continue to develop a website in hopes of developing leads on new evidence in the case.

"We want to get as much attention to the case nationwide as we possibly can," she said. "This is a prosecution that proceeded with a very large amount of exculpatory evidence and just ignored it. We may not get Aaron out, but prosecutors simply cannot be allowed to proceed in the way that they have."

She said the family communicates daily with Jones by e-mail. The case has ruined him financially, but his wife continues to support the family as a CPA, Elder said.

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