Rains County official pleads guilty
Administrator agrees to resign, gets probation on charges

Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

July 10, 2004 -- Rains County's road and bridge administrator received two years deferred adjudication probation on five felony counts of tampering with governmental records and agreed to resign his post as part of an agreement with the district attorney's office.

Avis Jones' plea, heard before 8th Judicial District Judge Robert Newsom Thursday evening, also calls for him to pay a $750 fine and $258 court costs on each case.

Five other felony forgery cases against Jones were also dropped.

Deferred adjudication means that the convictions will be wiped from Jones' criminal record if he successfully completes his probationary term.

On Thursday, Jones offered through his attorney, Larry Blount of Sulphur Springs, "to tell the truth and cooperate with law enforcement," plead guilty to five of 10 cases and resign, Rains County Attorney Robert Vititow stated in a press release Friday.

As part of the deal, Vititow agreed not to try the cases before a jury, to allow Jones to plead to only five of the 10 felony cases with which he was charged, and agreed not to file any remaining pending felony cases against Jones.

The district attorney did note that the plea bargain was in no way a special favor to the county employee, "but instead was treatment similar to that of other defendants with no prior felony convictions and a willingness to cooperate with law enforcement."

Vititow said the indictments against Jones were the result of a criminal investigation which continues.

"The only relationship this case has to the [road and bridge system] is that the defendant worked in it," Vititow said. "This does not make the system bad ... . The indictments were against Jones, not the road and bridge system."

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