Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Voyeur charged with attempted strangulation

New charge jeopardizes probation in earlier case


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Joshua C. Jones

A Bellevue man convicted more than a year ago of video voyeurism is now accused of trying to strangle a woman.

Twenty-one-year-old Joshua Charon Jones was arraigned on a felony charge of attempted strangulation Monday in Blaine County 5th District Court. He was also charged with misdemeanor counts of false imprisonment and intentional destruction of telecommunication equipment.

The new charges have placed Jones' probation in jeopardy in the earlier video voyeurism case, when he and two other men were prosecuted for using cell phone cameras in April 2007 to record video images of a 13-year-old girl stripping and dancing nude.

The new case alleges that Jones strangled a former girlfriend at his home on north Fourth Street in Bellevue on July 18. He is also accused of breaking the 21-year-old woman's cell phone and holding her at his home against her will for about two hours.

The woman's statement to police is quoted directly in a probable cause affidavit filed by Bellevue Marshal Ron Taylor: "He choked me with both hands around my neck to the point I felt I was going to pass out. I was in fear for my life because he threatened to kill me and would not let me leave."

Jones pleaded not guilty to the charges at Monday's court hearing. Judge Robert J. Elgee scheduled a jury trial for Oct. 27.

The earlier video voyeurism case was heard by Judge Randy J. Stoker, who normally presides in Twin Falls County. Jones was originally charged with sexual abuse of a minor child under 16 but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge in accord with a plea agreement with the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

At sentencing in 2008, Stoker placed Jones on three years probation and gave him a withheld judgment, which means that the conviction can be removed from Jones' record upon successful completion of probationary terms.

Stoker also gave Jones a five-year suspended prison sentence, which the judge warned would be reinstated if probation failed.

Jones is currently being held in the Blaine County jail on $100,000 bond.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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