Jury deliberating if accused violent sexual predator should be committed after prison sentence

A Wichita County jury has spent hours deliberating whether an accused violent sexual predator should be committed to a state hospital after he serves his prison sentence.

The state is trying to have 52-year-old Gregory Jones committed after his release on parole.
Jurors began deliberating just before 11 this morning, and around 4:15 they sent a note to the judge saying they could not reach a unanimous decision.

Jones' attorneys immediately asked for a mistrial saying 6 hours was enough deliberation and that instructing the jury to continue to try to reach a verdict violated Jones' right to a fair trial by putting pressure on the jury.

Judge Charles Barnard denied a mistrial and told the jury to keep trying. Jones has been in prison since 2001.

This is believed to be the first such commitment hearing here after a change in the law requiring the hearings to be conducted in the county where the last crime occurred.

Attorneys for the state argued Jones should be committed because he has not changed since he was sent to prison, and remains a sexually violent predator who is likely to prey on women again.

In the late 1990s, Wichita Falls was on edge after a series of break-ins, sexual assaults and attempted sexual assaults.

Jones was arrested after he was seen in the parking lot of an apartment complex where a break-in and attempted assault had taken place earlier. Wichita Falls police suspected Jones could have been involved in numerous sexual assault cases here and elsewhere.

Jones became eligible for parole in 2008,  and parole was approved in August.


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