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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Memphis police officer charged in slaying

Admits to shooting death of woman, investigators say
The Commercial Appeal by Lawrence Buser - September 10, 2008

A Memphis police officer was charged with second-degree murder Wednesday after a short-term affair with a woman ended with multiple gunshots. Chancy K. Jones, 37, was charged in the killing of Phyllis Malone, 31, who was found slumped at the wheel of her 2004 blue Chevrolet Impala at about 6 a.m. Tuesday near the Back Yard Burgers restaurant at 1709 Whitten. Jones has admitted to the shooting, according to court documents. Police said the couple had arranged to meet at the restaurant and that it appeared Malone was shot in her car. She apparently had been shot in the head, although an autopsy report is not complete. Jones, who is married, was arrested in middle of his shift Tuesday evening and charged. He has been suspended with pay pending an administrative hearing. "He didn't act any differently when he came to work," Police Director Larry Godwin said. "When we got the information (about his possible involvement), we acted as soon as we had it. We acted immediately. "The relationship had been going on for weeks rather than months. It evidently became troubled rather quickly. We're trying to determine the how and the why." Jones, who is being held without bond, has a video arraignment set for today in General Sessions Criminal Court. Godwin said Jones joined the police department in July 2005 and that he has neither disciplinary action nor commendations on his record. "There's nothing in his file other than he went to work and did his job," the director said. "It's a sad day when it's one of your own (charged with a crime.)" Jones worked as a Shelby County corrections officer from 1998 until 2005, when he was fired for abandoning his post. According to county disciplinary records, Jones agreed to work overtime but then left before finishing his shift.

The county Civil Service Merit Board modified Jones' termination to a 90-day suspension without pay and six months of probation beginning on the date of his reinstatement. By then, however, Jones was an MPD recruit. Since Shelby County requires all employees to hold the county as their primary employee, Jones had to choose between the two jobs. He resigned from the division of corrections a day after accepting reinstatement. During his years as a corrections officer, Jones had multiple disciplinary actions against him beginning in 2001. Those included warning letters, counseling and a five-day suspension without pay for violations ranging from habitual tardiness and unexcused absences to failure to carry out instructions and refusing to work a particular assignment. Police said Malone has been both a complainant and a defendant in orders of protection filed in recent years, though none involved Jones. Records show Malone pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in 2002 and to arson in 1990, serving portions of prison sentences for both. -- Lawrence Buser: 529-2385 - Staff reporter Kristina Goetz contributed to this report.

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