Hearne Man's Words to Councilwoman Leads to Trial

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A Hearne man is on trial accused of threatening a city councilwoman.

Tommy Leon Jones is charged with making a terroristic threat against Councilwoman Maxine Vaughn. Following a city council meeting back in May, Jones allegedly told Vaughn she was dead.

Jones claims he meant politically dead. He had recently filed a petition in June to have another councilmember removed. Shortly after, Jones was arrested on a terroristic threat charge.

Those backing the defendant, including Hearne's mayor Milton Johnson, say the timing is questionable, making this case appear to be politically motivated.

"This man filed this petition, and it's my duty as mayor to make sure this guy is given every opportunity that anyone else has," Johnson said.

Jones is currently on parole for burglary, and a conviction in this case could send him to jail. Several city councilmembers were in attendance at Thursday's proceedings, causing city officials to call the gathering a quorum.

The trial resumes Friday.