By Ed Brock
Jerry William Jones, accused of killing four people and kidnapping his own daughters in a jealous spate, was no stranger to Clayton and Henry county law enforcement.
On Monday Jones, 31, was still recovering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a Chattanooga hospital while members of the family of his former girlfriend, Melissa Peeler, buried Peeler's parents, sister and the 10-month-old daughter she'd had with Jones.
Jones is accused of shooting Tom and Nola Blaylock, their daughter, Georgia Bradley, and strangling Harley Jones, Jones' youngest daughter, last Wednesday at their trailer homes in Ranger, a tiny town about 55 miles north of Atlanta.
Authorities say the killings were the result of a jealous rampage by Jones, who had been dumped by Peeler.
After the killings, Jones took his other two daughters, 4-year-old Brandy and 3-year-old Tammy, and Peeler's 10-year-old daughter by another man Brittany Phelps and drove away in Tom Blaylock's SUV. A group of motorists later spotted him driving north on I-75 and called police.
Jones shot himself in the face following a police chase that ended just over the Tennessee border on Thursday night. The girls were found unharmed.
Jones graduated from Adamson Junior High School in Rex in 1987 and attended Morrow High School until he withdrew from the school in 1989, spokesman for Clayton County Schools Jerry Jackson said.
During his time in this area Jones saw the inside of the Clayton County jail more than once.
"The last time we saw him was in 1993," Clayton County Chief Deputy Shelby Foles said.
Jones was sentenced to serve a total of 14 years for crimes committed in Clayton County between 1989 and 1992, including theft of a motor vehicle, shoplifting and theft by receiving stolen property, according to the Rome News-Tribune.
He stole a car in Henry County in 1990 and was sentence to three years, according to the News-Tribune.
On Monday Brittney Phelps joined scores of relatives who took turns approaching the flower-covered caskets of the four family members who were killed.
"You did a good job, I'm proud of you. I'm proud of you," Kacie Charles whispered to Brittney, her cousin, as they walked away from the caskets at the front of Trinity Baptist Church.
Three silver caskets ? one for each of the adult victims ? sat behind a table covered in a pink cloth that held up the tiny white casket of Harley Jones.
Relatives expressed frustration over failed attempts to distance themselves from Jones.
"I'm not doing well right now," Peeler said at the wake. "I just lost my whole family."
Another of the Blaylocks' daughters, Kathy O'Donnell, kneeled on the floor in front of the casket of her own mother. Wearing a long black dress and a crucifix, she clutched the side handle of the casket as she shouted: "Why did he do this to my family? Somebody help me please. I don't care about my life. I just want my momma back."
Immediately other family members gathered around her to try to console her.
The victims' relatives said they had wanted Jones out of their lives for some time.
"Every time she would set up with another residence, Jones would snake his way back in," David O'Donnell, the Blaylocks' son-in-law, said of Peeler.
"He was a snake in the grass in every way," O'Donnell said.
Bradley's son, Terry Baker, said his mother talked Jones out of committing suicide only a week before the killings. Baker said he overheard the telephone conversation between Bradley and Jones while at his mother's home.
"He was angry that he and Melissa split up. She told him ?You don't need to do it. There are better things in life than committing suicide,"' Baker said.
Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue on Monday honored the two couples whose telephone tip led to Jones' arrest.
"Three little girls are probably alive today because of your actions," he told the couples at the Georgia state Capitol.
Albert Joy was driving his car on Interstate 75 with his wife, Lizabeth, and friends, Jason Roden and Andrea Sharp, when they recognized the vehicle traveling in front of them matched the description of the Jones' red Ford Explorer.
Soon after calling 911 with their tip, police chased Jones into Tennessee where he was caught with the girls in his vehicle.
Jones' condition at the Erlanger Medical Center in East Ridge, Tenn., was not being released. The hospital had reported last week that Jones was in critical condition, but spokeswoman Jan Powell said Monday that he was in "confidential status."
East Ridge, Tenn., police Lt. Tim Mullinax said the department was continuing a round-the-clock watch at the hospital.
"I think he is possibly going to be undergoing some more surgery," Mullinax said. "I seriously doubt if the hospital would think about releasing him at least for another week."
Mullinax said he did not know if Jones has requested an attorney.
The Associated Press also contributed to this story.