A grand jury last week handed down several indictments against the man accused of killing an Aiken Public Safety officer in January. The indictments for 27-year-old Joshua Tremaine Jones, of North Augusta, included failure to stop for blue lights, unlawful carrying of a pistol, larceny and possession of a weapon during a violent crime. The indictments were handed down on Nov. 29.
Jones has been charged with the Jan. 28 murder of Master Cpl. Sandy Rogers, who was responding to a resident's concerns about a suspicious vehicle in Eustis Park when Jones allegedly shot her.
“The indictments handed down by the grand jury in the case speak for themselves,” Solicitor J. Strom Thurmond Jr. said when reached for comment. “We do not have any comment on the facts of this case.”
Jones faces additional assault charges for two incidents inside the Aiken County detention center, where he's been jailed since the murder, according to detention center Capt. Nick Gallam.
On July 5, Jones allegedly grabbed an officer who was handing him food through a lockable flap on the door of his jail cell and pulled him, causing scrapes to the officer's arm, Gallam said.
The next day, Jones assaulted one of the deputies transporting him to his cell, then spit on the other officers who responded to the incident, Gallam said. The officers suffered minor injuries.
Jones has been charged with three counts each of assault and battery third-degree and throwing of bodily fluids by a prisoner on state corrections or local law enforcement officer, corrections employee or visitor.
“He hasn't done anything else that would be criminal,” Gallam said. “Not to say that he hasn't had any in-house disciplinary issues.”
On the morning of the murder, Rogers was responding to a call about a suspicious vehicle in Eustis Park when she was gunned down, authorities have said. Rogers found Jones in a 2002 blue BMW that he had reportedly stolen from his father and an altercation ensued, police said.
A minute after Rogers reported being out with the blue vehicle, another officer called for her. She did not respond, and a fellow officer on her shift called out that shots had been fired and that an officer was down, according to reports.
Officers followed the fleeing BMW and pursued the accused shooter in excess of 100 mph from the park and issued an all-points bulletin search for him and the stolen vehicle. After officers lost sight of the vehicle, a helicopter was brought in to locate it.
Around 11:30 a.m., Jones was taken into custody at his home on Youman Street in Batesburg.
Richmond County officials have a hold on Jones for his alleged role in the murder of his 21-year-old pregnant girlfriend, Cayce Vice. Her body was found around 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 28 at her apartment in Augusta. She had been shot in the head sometime before Rogers was gunned down in Eustis Park, officials said.
Jones was transported to the Department of Mental Health for about two weeks in early March for treatment, and was returned to the detention center. Jail officials could not comment on why they referred Jones to the state department or on his mental status.
Gallam said Jones has remained in the jail since. He is in a cell by himself and is allowed visitors, Gallam said.
Rogers' death came less than six weeks after the shooting death of Master Public Safety Officer Scotty Richardson. Richardson was shot on Dec. 20 following a traffic stop in Aiken and died from his injuries on Dec. 21.
Stephon M. Carter, who turned 20 on Monday, has been charged with the murder of Richardson and the attempted murder of Public Safety Officer Travis Griffin.
The Solicitor's Office recently filed notice that they will seek the death penalty for Carter.
Teddy Kulmala covers the crime beat for the Aiken Standard. He is a graduate of Clemson University and hails from Williston.