Court of Appeals upholds domestic violence conviction

By Ryan Carter - [email protected]

The 12th District Court of Appeals recently upheld the conviction and sentence of a Washington C.H. man who was found guilty in April 2015 of domestic violence against his stepfather.

It was originally reported that on Valentine’s Day 2015, Travis D. Jones, 38, kicked his mother in the chest and tried to stab her with a butcher knife at her home on Rawling Street. He was also accused of beating his stepfather, according to Washington C.H. Police.

Jones was indicted on charges of felonious assault, aggravated menacing and two counts of domestic violence. During his trial April 23, 2015, Jones’s mother recanted her allegations against her son and changed her story. She testified that on the date in question, she “wasn’t in a very good” mood due to her “bipolar depression” and the fact that she had been off her medications for seven days resulted in her “terrorizing everybody.”

However, Washington Police Det. David Page testified during the trial that on the date in question, he saw a woman later identified as Jones’s mother slam open the back door and heard her scream, “He’s going to kill me.” He said he also observed Jones chasing his mother with a knife, which he was holding in a “striking position.”

When Jones made eye contact with Page, he reportedly dropped the knife, ignored commands to stop and ran back inside the house. As Page approached the rear of the house, he said he saw Jones reemerge from the residence and charge another man, who was later identified as the stepfather.

Page added that when he got to Jones, he “already had his hands behind his back” in the expectation that he would be handcuffed.

Patrolman Jean Bowling testified that when she arrived at the scene, Jones’s stepfather told her that she “better bring more help.” When Bowling saw Jones run out the front door of the house, she ordered him to stop, but he refused to comply. Instead, according to Bowling’s testimony, he ran over to his stepfather, knocked him to the ground and struck him with his fist.

After Jones was arrested, Bowling said she entered the family’s home and found the kitchen in disarray. There were reportedly couch cushions on the floor, a broken chair and a bi-fold door that was broken off its hinges.

At the trial, the jury acquitted Jones on charges of felonious assault, domestic violence and aggravated menacing against his mother. He was convicted of domestic violence “with two prior domestic violence convictions” against his stepfather.

Fayette County Common Pleas Court Judge Steven Beathard sentenced Jones to 30 months in prison for his conviction of domestic violence and an additional prison term of two years, six months, and 20 days for violating the terms of his post-release control. He was ordered to serve both sentences consecutively for a total prison sentence of just over five years.

In his appeal, Jones argued that the jury’s verdict of guilty to the domestic violence count “was not supported by sufficient evidence and was against the manifest weight of the evidence.” He also claimed that the court “abused its discretion by imposing a prison sentence for a felony conviction while the defendant was on post-release control.”

The 12th District Court of Appeals ruled that the trial court properly imposed the maximum sentence on Jones for committing a felony while he was on post-release control. This is because Jones violently attacked his stepfather, was convicted by a jury of a felony while he was on post-release control, and has two prior domestic violence convictions.

Jones’s “actions clearly indicate that he is not amenable to community control sanctions, since he cannot control his violent tendencies and aggressions,” the Court of Appeals ruled.

By Ryan Carter

[email protected]

Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica

Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica