Murder suspect to be arraigned today

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com

   A Hampton man charged in the shooting death of his former girlfriend in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant on Monday is scheduled to be arraigned in court today.
   Steven Allen Jones, 34, of 103 Carl Smith Rd., Hampton, was taken into custody Wednesday after he surrendered to police in the town of White Pine in Jefferson County. He will appear before General Sessions Court Judge John Walton on a charge of first degree murder.
   Jones is charged in the death of Carla Scott, 26, who had at one time lived with him at the residence in Hampton. Scott was shot shortly after 11 a.m. Monday morning while she was sitting in the driver's seat of her vehicle in the parking lot of McDonald's. Her two young children, ages 1 and 3, were in the backseat of the vehicle at the time of the shooting and were not injured. Jones has been identified as the father of the 1-year-old child but not the 3-year-old.
   Witnesses told police that Jones and Scott had been arguing inside the restaurant. Scott left the building and, after placing her children in her car, witnesses said the couple continued to argue.
   "One of our witnesses saw the victim run to her vehicle and the suspect enter his vehicle and then exit the vehicle with the gun and fire five shots into the passenger window," Elizabethton Police Department Capt. Mike Peters said on Wednesday after Jones was arrested.
   Members of the Carter County Rescue Squad transported Scott to Sycamore Shoals Hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival.
   Because the children were in the vehicle at the time of the shooting, more charges may be placed against Jones later, police said. "Definitely with the two children in the vehicle and five shots being fired into the vehicle that constitutes in my mind endangerment to the children," Peters said, adding that he would speak to the district attorney about additional charges.
   Jones contacted Elizabethton Police Department Chief Roger Deal and Deputy Chief Larry Shell by telephone Wednesday morning at approximately 10 a.m. and said he wanted to surrender. Jones stayed on the phone with Deal until officers of the White Pine Police Department arrived at the hotel room he was renting and took him into custody.
   Police have recovered the vehicle Jones was driving when he fled the scene, a 1980s model beige Ford conversion van, but they have not found the murder weapon, according to Peters. "We are hoping to recover that in the next day or so," he said Thursday afternoon. He said police believe they know where it is.
   Scott's two children were placed in the custody of Child Protective Services, a division of the Department of Children's Services, on Monday. Peters said Wednesday that the children could possibly be undergoing counseling. The Department of Children's Services refused to comment on whether the children were still in their custody or if a custody hearing has been scheduled.