By Michael Howlett Staff Writer
November 6, 2013
A Grayson County Grand Jury has returned an indictment charging Matthew Steven Jones, 35, with the murder of his girlfriend, Desia Rae George, 33, of Fries.
George had been reported missing by her family on April 16. George's disappearance sparked an area-wide search for information. The sheriff's departments of both Carroll and Grayson counties conducted numerous interviews, in addition to searching daily, before George's body was eventually discovered May 22 in the Brush Creek section of Grayson County, close to the Wythe County line.
While the search for George was being conducted, Jones was being held in the Randolph County Jail in Asheboro, N.C. awaiting trial in connection with an April 29 bank robbery at Fidelity Bank on Jordan Road in Ramseur. He is charged with common law robbery, card fraud and unauthorized use of a vehicle.
According to the joint press release by Grayson County Commonwealth Attorney Doug Vaught, Carroll County Commonwealth Attorney Nathan Lyons and Carroll County Sheriff J.B. Gardner, “The direct indictment was returned on October 25, and the indictment itself remained sealed until steps could be taken to secure the arrest or detention of the named defendant. On October 31, local officials forwarded copies of the indictment, along with a request that the indictment be filed as a detainer against Jones by the Sheriff of Randolph County, Asheboro, North Carolina.”
Because Jones has charges pending in N.C., the Virginia charge will not be tried until the completion of his North Carolina case. Jones would then be returned to Virginia to stand trial on the murder indictment.
Every unlawful homicide in Virginia is presumed to be murder in the second degree, and the Commonwealth has the burden of elevating it to first degree by proof of premeditation or other statutory enhancing factors. The general indictment for “kill and murder” allows the Commonwealth to introduce evidence which it believes would support a murder in the first degree conviction. The defendant may present evidence that may be offered to establish innocence, or negate the presence of malice in the homicide thereby making it a crime of manslaughter, according to the press release.