Jaynes enters guilty plea to amended charges in 2012 murder case

Just over a week before he was slated to stand trial, one of two suspects in a Knox County murder case entered a plea to amended charges.

Jesse Jaynes and wife Angela were charged with the Dec. 27, 2012 murder of 35-year-old James Cox at the Jaynes’ Bailey Branch home.

During a March 28 competency hearing in Knox Circuit Court, Jaynes was ruled competent to stand trial.  

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At a final pretrial conference on Thursday, Jaynes, with his lawyer Sam Castle at his side, entered a guilty plea to first-degree manslaughter. Under the terms of the plea, Commonwealth Attorney Jackie Steele made an offer of 10 years in prison on the condition that Jaynes agree to testify truthfully regarding the events that led up to Cox’ death.

“You do admit that you committed the offense as charged in the indictment as amended?” Knox Circuit Judge Gregory Lay asked Jaynes.

“I admit that I done what I had to do at the time,” Jaynes responded, after which Lay asked “What did you do that makes you guilty of this offense?”

“I shot a man,” Jaynes said, to which Lay replied “Would that be James Cox?”

“Yes,” Jaynes responded.

In a letter filed in the case, Steele agreed to review the case to determine if a lesser charge is appropriate. “It is very much a possibility that I will not agree to change the terms of the plea agreement…,” Steele wrote in the letter to defense attorney Castle.

Also during Thursday’s circuit court session, Jaynes’ wife Angela was judged to be competent to stand trial.

The couple was slated to stand trial beginning Monday, April 14.

For updates, check future posts on www.mountainadvocate.com.