Chris Jones turns down plea deal, asks for trial - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Chris Jones turns down plea deal, asks for trial

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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DOWNTOWN MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Chris Jones says he's not guilty and wants to take his chances with a jury trial.

The Shelby County District Attorney offered a second degree murder charge and a 25-year, no parole prison sentence for Jones. He's accused of killing his estranged wife Heather Palumbo-Jones in April.

Since he turned down the offer in court Monday, the case heads to a Shelby County grand jury that's now expected to charge Jones with first degree murder.

"If I knew odds, I'd be working in Vegas," said defense attorney Gerald Skahan.

Jones' defense attorney said evidence aside, Jones' decision to go to trial may be a crap shoot.

"Chris is a smart guy. He understands what's going on," said Skahan, who says now begins the process of going over all of the evidence from police and the state.

MORE:  Autopsy report of Heather Palumbo-Jones

MORE:  Autopsy shows Palumbo-Jones died of asphyxia

Here is what we know: Germantown Police say Jones voluntarily interviewed after his wife disappeared in April. Prior to being arrested, he also interviewed with FOX13 professing his innocence.

Police say Ms. Palumbo-Jones had started divorce proceedings against Jones in January. She had also threatened to file a restraining order against him.

They say Jones confessed to killing Ms. Palumbo-Jones to police April 15. He said he argued with his wife, it became physical and it resulted in her death. He says he got rid of her body, but eventually led police to a wooded area off Highway 64 near Collierville-Arlington Road where Ms. Palumbo-Jones' body was found.

MORE:  Judge orders mental evaluation for murder suspect

"That's his right, the decision he made was ... we'll go forward from here," said Shelby County Assistant District Attorney Theresa McCusker. "He chose not to enter a guilty plea, he has that right."

The downtown courtroom was filled with supporters of Ms. Palumbo-Jones.

"We would've preferred some conclusion today, but we have the utmost confidence in the DA's office," said John Perry, the victim's uncle, who spoke for the family.

Jones no longer has the 25-year offer for killing wife from the State of Tennessee. His fate will now lie with a jury.

"The decisions we make up here are all strategic decisions," Skahan said. "There's a purpose why we make them. He was originally charged with second degree murder. What a jury does with this we'll see."

Jones is due back in court Dec. 19 for a possible indictment.

SEARCH WARRANTS:

Heather Palumbo-Jones case search warrant 1

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Heather Palumbo-Jones case search warrant 3

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