Former Charleston firefighter accused of murder-for-hire plot against wife released on bail
The former Charleston fire captain accused of a murder-for-hire plot targeting his wife is out of jail, after being released on bail.
During a hearing Friday, Circuit Judge Thomas Hughston said despite arguments against setting bail from 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson, he must set it for 41-year-old Edward Clinton Jones, who is charged with solicitation to commit murder.
Hughston said he is bound by the law to set bail and can only deny bail when the charge is a capital offense or it carries the possibility of a life sentence.
Hughston set a $100,000 bail or 10 percent of that amount, and ordered Jones on house arrest. Jones will have to live with his mother at a James Island home, according to the order.
One or more of the four individuals who volunteered in support of Jones will have to be with him at all times at the home, including either his mother, the homeowner who is a family friend and former firefighter, Jones' brother or sister.
Jones posted bond Friday afternoon and was released from the jail's custody.
Jones' attorney, Leon Stravinakis, said he thinks the bond and conditions are reasonable under the circumstances.
Jones was arrested Dec. 31 after authorities said he attempted to hire an undercover police officer to kill his wife, Michelle.
During a Jan. 23 bond hearing, Wilson said Jones is a danger to the community when asking Hughston to deny setting any bail.
"Thank goodness he went to the wrong person," Wilson said. "Had it been a real gangster or real bad guy, we'd have a murder on our hands."
Michelle Jones told Hughston during that hearing she is afraid for her life. "I'm scared he'll get out and kill me," she said. "Someone who wanted to commit murder should not be allowed to walk the streets."
Hughston had taken the matter under advisement until calling the attorneys back to court Friday, when he asked for further arguments.
The officer, who is not being identified, recorded Jones saying he wanted his wife killed on New Year's Day while she was working, according to the affidavit.
He told the officer that the ammunition to be used was already "cleaned" and to make sure and "finish off" his wife because he didn't want to visit her in a hospital, the affidavit stated.
They discussed a payment of $8,000 for the killing, and Jones provided a photo of his wife, the affidavit stated.
Jones, a father of four, served on the Charleston Fire Department for 19 years.
Michelle Jones has filed for separation and temporary custody of their children, according to court records. The family court case remains pending.
Reach Natalie Caula Hauff at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.