Wise County Sheriff Ronnie Oakes announced this morning that a Big Stone Gap man has been arrested on charges related to the murder of Janina Jefferson last November, including that he drove the alleged killer to the scene.
Jefferson was found murdered Nov. 27, 2016, in Appalachia at the town water plant where she worked. Her ex-husband, Eric Monroe Jones, age 46, of Big Stone Gap, has been charged and is wanted for first-degree murder of Jefferson, and other related charges.
Prior to the murder, Jones had been previously charged with assault and battery of Jefferson, strangulation and trespassing. Jones is currently a fugitive and law enforcement is continuing their efforts to bring him to justice.
Jacob Seth Rowland, age 24, of Big Stone Gap, is charged with acting as an accessory in the murder of Janina Jefferson. He also faces charges for:
• violating a protective order as a principal in the second degree;
• conspiracy with Eric Jones to intimidate Jefferson or impede her testimony against Jones by threats of bodily harm or force; and
• conspiracy with Jones to violate a protective order. He faces a total maximum punishment of 71 years of incarceration.
It is alleged that Rowland drove Jones to the scene of the murder. Rowland allegedly knew that there was a protective order in place that prevented Jones from having any contact with Jefferson. He also allegedly knew about the pending charges against Jones and that Jones wanted to prevent Jefferson from testifying against him in those cases.
Oakes said county investigators are working closely with several law enforcement agencies and Wise County Commonwealth Attorney Chuck Slemp to prosecute those who have either assisted Jones with his crimes or are providing him assistance now as a fugitive.
The sheriff's office is asking for the public's assistance in locating Eric Monroe Jones. Anyone who has information is asked to contact the Wise County Sheriff’s Office at 276-328-3756.