, Corbin, KY

March 31, 2014

Ex-fire chief capable of facing murder trial

Jesse Jaynes appears before court for competency hearing

The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

Former Stinking Creek Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jesse Jaynes was found to be capable of facing his impending murder trial during a competency hearing Friday.

Jaynes, 46, of Walker, appeared before Judge Gregory A. Lay Friday morning in Knox County Circuit Court with his defense attorney, Samuel Castle.

He and his wife, Angela Jaynes, 40, a former nurse, face murder charges in the shooting death of 35-year-old James Cox, a father of four.

Cox was found with two gunshot wounds on the Jaynes’ property two days after Christmas in 2012.

Jesse Jaynes has been under evaluation at the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center in LaGrange.

On Friday, Commonwealth’s Attorney Jackie Steele called Dr. Timothy S. Allen, with KCPC, to testify — Allen’s testimony was offered via telephone, according to court records.

“After having considered the record...the court finds that the defendant has the capacity to appreciate the nature and the consequences of the proceedings against him,” the court order states. “And the court further finds that the defendant has the capacity to participate rationally in his own defense.”

Angela Jaynes was scheduled for her competency hearing Friday — but is now slated for her hearing Thursday. Attorney Christy Love represents Angela Jaynes.

The couple’s trial is slated for April 14.

During their appearance in December, both Jaynes were supposed to have their competency hearings, however, Lay sent Jesse Jaynes back to KCPC for re-evaluation.

After December’s court proceedings ended, Steele explained that there have been plea offers made to both Jaynes, but nothing has been agreed upon or decided. Jesse Jaynes could not agree to anything, Steele said, until he has been officially reevaluated by KCPC.

Angela Jaynes was already evaluated by KCPC in 2013.

The couple, who resided at their home on Bailey Branch Road near the Mills community where Cox was killed, originally led detectives to believe Cox’s death was self-defense, according to Kentucky State Trooper and public information officer Shane Jacobs.

But soon after, Jacobs explained the Kentucky State Police investigation and Detective Mark Mefford discovered information which led to the couple’s arrest.

“Based on statements and the investigation, we feel Angela Jaynes and Mr. Cox had a relationship at one point,” Jacobs said after the arrests, adding police believe both Jaynes were involved in Cox’s murder.

During a hearing more than a year ago now, Mefford was the sole witness called to testify. He said that Jesse Jaynes told him he had shot Cox once in the leg, alleging Cox was an intruder.

Mefford added that the two men began a physical confrontation. Noise from that fight drew the attention of Angela Jaynes, who came outside to the scene and shot Cox in the back, Mefford testified.

It also was alleged during that hearing Cox raped Angela Jaynes earlier in 2012; however, no evidence has ever been presented concerning that allegation.

Cox’s sister, Penny Shown, “was aware of a long-standing relationship” between Angela Jaynes and Cox, according to Mefford’s testimony, and would likely be called as a witness in the trial.

He added that Cox “was last seen alive with Angela Jaynes less than an hour before” he was killed.

Mefford testified the alleged intent of Cox’s death was one of revenge — either revenge for the alleged rape, or for the alleged affair.

Both Jaynes remain jailed under $100,000 cash bonds each.