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Zachary Jones, mayor's son, enters guilty plea to avoid trial

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Zachary Jones, son of Charleston Mayor Danny Jones, entered into a plea agreement Monday morning in Kanawha Circuit Court to avoid his case going to trial.

Jones entered a guilty plea to simple possession of cocaine and felony charges were dropped, said Jesse Forbes, one of his attorneys.

"Zac had a long-term struggle with drug addiction," Forbes said. "He said from the first that he had been using cocaine. We were almost ready for jury selection before the plea agreement was reached."

Forbes cited a lack of evidence to support felony charges that Jones intended to sell drugs.

Jones was arrested in March and charged with possession with intent to deliver cocaine. He was released from jail after a $25,000 property bond was posted.

In June, Circuit Judge Duke Bloom approved a request allowing Jones to attend a drug treatment program. In July, Jones pleaded not guilty to felony drug charges and the August trial date was set.

After the plea agreement was reached on Monday, Jones returned to the center in Huntington where he is receiving treatment for drug addiction, Forbes said.

"This is long-term treatment for his addiction," Forbes said. "He is doing a lot better. It is no secret that he has had a long-term battle with drugs. Hopefully, with treatment, he is on the road to recovery."

Jones, 25, is to be sentenced in mid-September before Judge Bloom, Forbes said.

The maximum sentence on the misdemeanor charge of simple possession of cocaine is six months, he said. Jones, who has already served three months in jail, would get credit for that time, he said.

Jones has a history of issues with drugs and alcohol.

In 2008, he was arrested after crashing his car while driving under the influence. In 2011, he was arrested on charges of misdemeanor possession of heroin.

When he was arrested in March on drug charges along with a Detroit man, the mayor issued a statement saying that he was heartbroken and relieved that his son had been arrested because it could save his life. He cited Zac's struggle with addiction and the heartache it had caused those who love him.

Zac and Moldavian Harris, 24, of Detroit, were arrested during a routine traffic stop on Interstate 77 north of Charleston when officers stopped a speeding Mazda 3. A search of the vehicle turned up 25.7 grams of cocaine.

Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at charlotte@dailymail.com or 304-348-1246.


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