Judge orders mental evaluation for murder suspect - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Judge orders mental evaluation for murder suspect

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GERMANTOWN, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Christopher Jones' preliminary hearing in Germantown Municipal Court Wednesday evening was quick and to the point.

Judge Raymond Clift moved Jones' preliminary trial to June 12 pending a mental evaluation.

"We'll see what the mental evaluation says. Sometimes they're helpful; sometimes they're not. At the prelim we'll see what evidence the state puts on and kind of go from there," says defense attorney Gerald Skahan.

Jones is accused of killing his estranged wife, kindergarten teacher Heather Palumbo-Jones, in mid-April. He is facing a second degree murder charge for killing his estranged wife and then dumping her body in a thickly wooded area off Highway 64 and Collierville-Arlington Road in the eastern part of Shelby County.

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Investigators say Jones confessed to murdering Palumbo-Jones after a verbal argument got out of hand April 15. She did not show up for work in Frayser at Achievement Elementary School the next morning and Germantown Police issued a missing persons alert.

A week after searching for the kindergarten teacher and her Poplar Avenue home, Palumbo-Jones' body was found. An exact cause of death and results of an autopsy are not known.

Friends of the victim gathered in the municipal courtroom to watch the proceedings. They said they are disgusted when they see Christopher but add it is important that he does see them. They said it's important that they are strong and go to every court proceeding.

"We feel like if we're there he sees Heather because we were such food friends with he, so we don't ever want him to forget her, " says Heather's friend Joanna Young.

Another friend of Heather's, Melissa Smith, adds, "I wish every time he walks into the courtroom he would have to make eye contact with each of us."

The victim's friends said their friendship keeps them strong in the fight for justice for Palumbo-Jones. In the meantime they are focusing on something positive: They're having a Zumba party fundraiser for Heather's children - a seven-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son - on Saturday, May 11 at Holy Communion Church from 9:30 a.m. until noon.

Jones, who has yet to enter a plea to the charge against him, remains in Shelby County Jail on a $1 million bond. He faces 15-60 years in prison if convicted.

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