By David Hedges Publisher

Times Record-Roane County Reporter

A flashlight could end up as a key piece of evidence in the murders of two elderly Roane County men killed a week apart.

Police say John Morehead, 68, of Spencer and Oral "Sam" Jett, 83, who lived along U.S. 119 near the Kanawha County line were bludgeoned to death after they had been robbed.

Roger Eric Jones, 31, of Chloe has been charged with the murder of both men, and lab results indicate the same flashlight may have been used in both slayings.

Morehead's body was found inside his burned trailer, on Arnoldsburg Road east of Spencer, in late December 2002.

Jett's body was found near his car, along a remote road in the Amma area, one week later.

Jones was to go on trial next week in the Jett case, but public defender Teresa Monk asked for more time to study evidence which was recently released.

Roane Circuit Judge David Nibert granted her request, and continued the trial until July. A trial date in the Morehead case has not been set.

Jones is being held without bond in the regional jail.

The two cases have several things in common, according to evidence as it is portrayed by police and prosecutor Mark Sergent in pretrial proceedings.

Both men knew Jones, both lived alone in mobile homes, and both died of blows to the head.

In each case, authorities say Jones was dropped off at the victim's residence sometime before they were found dead. And each time Jones allegedly made arrangements to be picked up later.

State Police and the Roane Sheriff's Dept. collected several pieces of potential evidence which were examined at the State Police crime lab. The results of those lab examinations were disclosed in a pre-trial hearing last week.

Perhaps the most important piece of evidence was a "mag" flashlight which police say Jones used in both robberies and the slaying of each victim.

According to lab reports, the flashlight contains the DNA of both Morehead and Jones.

After the disclosure, Monk asked for the continuance.

The case had been set for jury selection late next week, on May 13-14, with the trial to begin the following Monday, May 17.

Jones' former girlfriend, Jamie Jarvis, has already entered guilty pleas to two counts of being an accessory after the fact.

She is expected to testify against Jones. Her sentencing has been delayed while the trials are pending. She is facing up to a year in jail on each charge ...