Charleston mayor's son asks for bail reduction
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Zachary Francis Jones asked a judge Wednesday to reduce his bail and allow him to attend a drug treatment center in California.
Jones, 23, is the son of Charleston Mayor Danny Jones. He was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to deliver on March 7. His bail was set at $25,000 cash-only and he has remained in the South Central Regional Jail since his arrest.
After his son's arrest, the mayor released a statement pleading with authorities not to give his son any special treatment.
His attorney, Bill Forbes, told Kanawha County Circuit Judge Duke Bloom on Wednesday that he wanted Zachary Jones to "dry out" before requesting a bail reduction.
"He has a severe drug problem, a heroin addiction," Forbes said, adding that he waited to make the motion until his client was "back in an appropriate state of mind" and able to take advantage of treatment.
Forbes asked Bloom to allow Zachary Jones to return to the New Found Life Center in Long Beach, Calif., a residential treatment facility his father paid for him to seek treatment at several years ago. Forbes said the mayor had arranged for him to return.
Prosecutors told the judge that if he granted the request, however, there would need to be a stipulation that if Zachary Jones were to get in trouble in California, someone like a friend or a family member must cover the cost of his extradition back to West Virginia.
Bloom changed the bail from $25,000 cash-only to surety, which means property can be posted.
The judge specified that Zachary Jones only be allowed to leave the state after proving he is enrolled in the drug treatment program and if someone agrees to pay any extradition costs.
"He doesn't have any money," Forbes said of his client, "and I don't see his father paying."
When reached by telephone after the hearing, the mayor said he doubted his son would be released from jail anytime soon.
"I haven't been involved," Danny Jones said. "His lawyer called me and asked if he could get back in treatment and I said yes. ... It doesn't mean I was paying for it. Zach's case will work itself out when he can work out a plea agreement and then get into long-term treatment."
Zachary Jones was arrested for driving under the influence in 2008 and possession of heroin in 2011. In the heroin case, the mayor previously said he told police where his son was and, once arrested, requested that his son's bail be raised. Instead, he said, an "associate" of Zachary Jones posted his bail.
Reach Kate White at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-1723.