By John L. Ross/ Staff Writer
A pair of defendants facing murder charges after the shooting death of a father of four both appeared in Knox County Circuit Court Friday.
Former Stinking Creek Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jesse Jaynes, 45, and his wife, 39-year-old Angela Jaynes, a former nurse, both of Walker, are accused of murder in the death of James Cox, 35.
Cox was found dead from two gunshot wounds on the Jaynes’ property Dec. 27, according to Kentucky State Police Trooper Shane Jacobs.
According to Commonwealth Attorney Jackie Steele, the state is waiting on a report concerning Angela Jaynes, who had been in the custody of the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center in La Grange.
During Friday’s pretrial conference before Judge Tom Jensen, who was standing in for Judge Gregory Lay, very little was said during the brief appearance. Both suspects stood before Jensen in handcuffs and leg chains, and did not appear to have spoken to each other during their appearance.
Jesse Jaynes is represented by Attorney Samuel Castle, while Angela Jaynes’ attorney is Christy Love.
Castle did attempt to discuss a bond-related issue, but Jensen stopped him. “I’m going to cut you off,” Jensen said, adding that “Judge Lay makes the decision on these bonds.”
The Jaynes are each jailed on a $100,000 cash bond.
Once the two were remanded back into custody, they were led from the room in single file.
The Jaynes, 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 Jacobs.
But soon after, Jacobs explained the KSP investigation and Detective Mark Mefford discovered information which led to arrest warrants the following week.
“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 January hearing, 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.
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.
When questioned whether there was any further evidence of self-defense, Mefford said “only the statements they made.”
Both Jaynes are slated for another pretrial conference July 26.