Jones described as violent during fifth day of Goins' trial

From Staff Reports

   GREENEVILLE -- The former girlfriend of Justin Cassidy Jones, who is accused of helping Joey Lee Goins, 29, murder East Tennessee State University student James Norwood, described Jones as sometimes violent and unpredictable Monday in federal court here.
   Beth Thomas testified that Jones, 22, told her about killing Norwood and robbing the First Bristol Bank on Volunteer Parkway with Goins. The two men were living with Thomas and her mother, Toni, at their home at the time, she said.
   Thomas said Jones warned her that Goins might kill them both if she told anyone.
   "He was scared that Joey would get to him before anyone could protect him," Thomas said.
   However, Thomas also testified that Goins never admitted to any of the crimes and that Jones could sometimes be violent and unpredictable.
   "He had a bad anger problem," she said. "It all seemed more tense after he told me about the robbery and the carjacking."
   The testimony came on the fifth day of Goins' trial. Prosecutors say Goins and Jones killed Norwood after stealing his car from an ETSU parking lot on April 13, 2002. Goins used the car two days later to rob the Bristol bank, prosecutors allege.
   Defense attorneys say that Jones, who has already pleaded guilty, committed the crimes himself and wants to put the blame on Goins.
   During testimony, Thomas also said she got into an argument with Jones once and suggested breaking up with him. The next thing she knew, he had a pistol in his hand, she said.
   "He pulled it out in the car and put it to his head and threatened to kill himself," Thomas said.
   On another occasion, Jones got so mad over a prank by some friends that he "punched a hole in a door" at her mother's house, Thomas said.
   "Looking back, does it seem rational to you to be more afraid of Justin Jones than of Joey Goins after all you saw?" defense attorney Mark Slagle asked.
   "Yes," Thomas said.
   Earlier in the day, jurors listened to Bristol Tennessee Detective Debbie Richmond-McCauley read Jones' two confessions in which he described the crimes.
   "Joey told me that he needed to rob somebody or do something to make some money," the detective read. "Joey told me it (the bank robbery) was a big adrenaline rush. He told me I should do one."
   Goins' is charged with carjacking; carjacking involving death; bank robbery; bank robbery with a deadly weapon, and conspiracy to commit carjacking and bank robbery. He could face life in prison if convicted.