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More details on murder
• According to GCSO reports, the man charged with murdering his wife was out on bond and had tried to attack the victim hours before.

Dwight Juliuse Jones

Dwight Juliuse Jones, the man arrested by the Gordon County Sheriff's Office and charged with the murder of his estranged wife, Krystal Jones, on Sept. 12 had previously been arrested in a domestic violence situation and was wanted in relation to an event that occurred hours before, according to reports acquired by the Calhoun Times.

According to GSCO records, Dwight Jones, 39, of 558 Mt. Zion Road, Resaca, was arrested by the Gordon County Sheriff's Office and charged with murder, two counts of aggravated assault against law enforcement, criminal damage to property, disorderly conduct and violation of bond after the incident last week that included a shootout with police.

Chief Deputy Robert Paris said Tuesday that Jones remained in jail with no bond.

He had also been arrested on Sept. 2 and charged with criminal trespass, and according to reports, he was wanted again for criminal damage to a vehicle and potential domestic violence from an incident on Sept. 11.

Just after midnight on Sept. 12, the day of the shooting, four deputies were sent to the residence after a third party called 911 saying they heard a woman screaming, "He's going to kill me."

Reports say a deputy approached the rear of the residence and found a Dodge Durango with the door open and the sliding glass door of the home open too. He heard a woman's screams and entered the residence, and then Krystal Jones ran from a bedroom covered in blood as Dwight Jones exited the bedroom and began firing shots.

The deputy returned fire with an M4 as Dwight Jones returned to the bedroom. The deputy then took cover until the shots stopped and retreated back outside.

The deputy found Krystal Jones on the ground with a gunshot wound to her forehead, conscious and responsive but unable to get up and move, so the officer pulled her further away from the home to a safer location. She died from the injuries.

Eventually law enforcement officials talked Dwight Jones into surrendering.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation report said that Dwight Jones was shot during the interaction, but he was treated and released before being taken to jail. It also said Krystal Jones had been shot multiple times.

Before the murder

About three hours before the shooting, at about 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 11, reports say Krystal Jones and Jeffrey Adams were driving in Adams' GMC Yukon XL to pick up Jones' children from a friend's house when Dwight Jones blocked them in, jumped out and punched out the driver's side window while yelling at both individuals.

Adams was able to drive away but Dwight Jones followed.

Shortly after, Adams stopped at a stop sign, heard a loud noise, and then the rear window of the vehicle shattered. The two individuals then drove different directions and Adams called law enforcement.

A deputy met with Adams and Krystal Jones and observed damage to the vehicle, as well as pictures of bruises and wounds that Krystal Jones received during a previous domestic abuse situation. She told the deputy that Dwight Jones was prohibited from contacting her as a condition of his previous arrest.

Adams then called Dwight Jones on speakerphone while the deputy listened in. According to reports, Jones said the following during the call:

"It's all good, I'll see you around don't worry, trust me, you don't know people like me, trust me, you can believe that. I already told you don't (expletive) talk to my wife. Trust me, it's all good, you just really don't know, you better ask somebody. Trust me, you good, you don't want this, you don't, and you gonna get it. I don't care if you are recording this or not. I don't give a (expletive), you think I don't. I know where you live, just keep your eyes open, keep your eyes open, you ain't gotta say (expletive). You know what it is, you think about it. You're with my wife. I was just talking to your wife, your ex-wife, whatever the (expletive) she is, she gonna clean you out. It's all good, just got off the phone with her, its all good, homie."

The deputy confirmed the phone number Adams had called was the same number Dwight Jones had given the last time he was arrested.

The report, which included a family violence incident, indicated potential charges of criminal damage to property in the second degree, terroristic threats and acts, violation of bond and disorderly conduct.


New Foundations gets a $30,000 grant
• The money will allow the organization to help local veterans with home improvements.

New Foundations Development Inc. received a $30,000 grant from a joint effort with the Home Depot Foundation and the Housing Assistance Council recently to help two local, low income military families with home improvements, but Program Manager Carol Hatch said the organization still needs more funding.

"We've got quite a long waiting list," Hatch said, noting that one family had already been selected to benefit from this grant, and a second one would be picked soon. "We are thankful, but we need more."

New Foundations is a nonprofit created by the Calhoun Housing Authority that has been serving veterans with home rehabilitation since 2013 with the help of NorthSide Bank and North Georgia National Bank.

"We are seeking funding from other sources so that we can keep our veteran families living in safe and affordable housing," said Gail Brown, executive director of the Calhoun Housing Authority.

To date, New Foundations has rehabbed more than 200 homes, most of those belonging to veterans. The group does a little bit of everything, from roof repairs and plumbing to replacing windows and doors and even helping make homes more handicap accessible.

Hatch said New Foundations used to benefit from a Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta program, but that company made cutbacks recently that eliminated the help the local organization was receiving. That had been the group's main source of funding, so now they are busy applying for grants from other sources and seeking donations.

"We're looking at other grants and trying to get funding so we can help more people," said Hatch, adding that there is a great need in Gordon County.

Brown said New Foundations has helped local homeowners who weren't veterans as well, including many senior citizens, but they have recently turned their efforts more toward men and women who served their country.

"Working with the veterans, they were so appreciative and so easy to work with that we continued to focus on them," she said.

Both ladies emphasized that donations are accepted and can be mailed to or dropped off at the office at 607 Oothcalooga St. in Calhoun.

"There are people who are suffering without heat or air conditioning, people in need of wheelchair ramps, even water heaters, because there are people who have gone months without hot water," Hatch said.

For more information about the New Foundations Veteran Program, call Hatch or Georgetta Frazier at 706-629-9183, extension 14.


Vet appears in Netflix documentary
'Diagnosis'

Local veterinarian Jodi Sexton never expected to find herself in front of the camera.

A self-described introvert who doesn't even like getting her picture taken most days, Sexton said the opportunity to appear on screen in a new Netflix documentary series was unexpected — especially given that she usually works with animals, rather than people.

Based on a New York Times Magazine column of the same name written by Dr. Lisa Sanders, "Diagnosis" crowdsources diagnoses for mysteries and rare medical conditions in humans in the hopes of finding solutions and treatment options.

"I've always been the most obnoxious person when anyone is in the hospital because I'm right there, micromanaging and asking questions of the people doctors. My family laughs because I say things like, 'Well, if you were a poodle, it might be this,' but that's really what got me on the show," said Sexton, who owned Calhoun's Best Friends Animal Hospital for 20 years before selling the practice in 2016.

It all started back in April 2018. She was reading the latest "Diagnosis" column, which centered around a 23-year-old nursing student named Angel Parker. Parker was experiencing shooting pain in her legs and back, muscle cramping, fatigue and unexplainable darkcolored urine, and had been since she was 14. Dozens of doctors had tried and failed over a period of nine years to uncover and treat the disease causing Parker's pain. None succeeded.

Sexton became "consumed" by the case right away.

"As a veterinarian, I started thinking about what animal diseases it sounded like. I realized it was pretty similar to a hereditary, metabolic disease in horses," she said. "So, I wrote in and said, 'Here is what I think this is, and here's why.' I was asked to write more, explaining exactly what I thought might be going on in her case."

So, she did. Sexton said she received a call from producers at Netflix asking her to be part of the documentary series a few weeks later. In May, they gave her instructions on how to Skype in to them and record a call that they could use on the show, including specifics about what lighting should be like, how to sit, what to wear and how to answer questions.

"I talked to them for almost two hours that day in an interview format. Then there was a really long gap after that when I knew I was going to be on the show and couldn't talk about it to anybody," Sexton said. "The show only came out this August, so it was a long time to keep quiet."

She found out by watching the show that Parker was finally diagnosed with carnitine palmitoyltransferase deficiency II, a condition that prevents the body from using certain fats for energy. The very rare condition is passed down genetically and is, indeed, similar to fatty acid oxidation problems seen in horses. Her pain can be managed by decreasing the amount of fatty acids she eats and increasing her sugar intake.

"I'm very happy they found out what was wrong," Sexton said. "It's just an example of what I think is so great about the column. Crowdsourcing is a really genius idea for medicine. I think there's always something we can learn from talking and bouncing ideas off of each other."

Appearing on the show hasn't changed much for Sexton, who now works as a veterinarian at the Animal Hospital of Whitfield County. She still volunteers with the local school system, which she has done for several years, and teaches children about dog bite prevention and veterinary science as a career. The only thing different about her life now versus before is her renewed focus on writing, which she said she does daily for a secret project she is working on.

"I can't talk too much about it right now, but I will say being on the show has opened other avenues of opportunity, particularly with writing. I'm going to try and focus on that a little more. I don't want to be in front of the camera very much," Sexton said. "It may be a package deal, but we'll see what happens with it. I'm very excited."


Lunch & Learn speakers address drug issues

Calhoun Police Chief Tony Pyle said he fears it's only a matter of time before the fentanyl overdose epidemic that is plaguing much of the United States makes its way to Calhoun.

"I hope I'm wrong, but I think we'll start seeing it," Pyle said Wednesday during the Gordon County Chamber of Commerce's Lunch and Learn event, the theme of which was Educating Workforce on Drug Addiction. "It's going to be everywhere."

The police chief pointed out that the number of the number of drug overdose deaths in the country has risen steadily and that the number of deaths in 2017 — 70,237, according to Department of Health and Human Services — would be enough to wipe out the entire population of Calhoun and Gordon County combined.

Pyle said drug dealers use fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid pain reliever, to cut their supplies of other, more common drugs like heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. The problem is, he said, that users don't know the highly addictive and dangerous fentanyl is in their drugs, so it becomes easy for users to overdose.

He said about 65 percent of overdoses in the U.S. were related to opioid use and, while that hasn't been a problem in Calhoun or Gordon County yet, he believes it will be eventually.

"It's a supply and demand issue," he said, "and it's a higher profit for drug dealers."

He compared it to the crack cocaine epidemic in the late 1980s and early '90s in that that drug was only a problem in the major cities for a while, but eventually spread everywhere else.

Pyle said his department's officers, including the K9 units, have already been supplied with Narcan, a drug that can temporarily stop an overdose until a user can be treated by medical professionals.

AdventHealth Gordon's Director of Community and Physician Outreach Tracy Farriba also addressed the crowd during the event, speaking specifically about vaping and her efforts to educate local students about the dangers of the increasingly popular devices.

Farriba told the story of one local 17-year-old who approach her after a presentation at his school and told her how he had been diagnosed with a severe lung infection after a weekend of near nonstop vaping. She said the teen told her that he didn't he know why he had done it, but he did know that something wasn't right with his body.

Two days later he woke up with a sore throat and bad cough and went to the doctor, then was sent to a lung specialist after the infection was discovered.

"He said, 'I want you to tell the students and the people you talk to that it really can happen to you,'" Farriba said, who noted that seven teens in Georgia have died from vape-related illnesses.

She said one of the main problems with vaping is that there is no good way to know exactly what is contained in the oils or juice the devices use and that illegal drugs are often used in much higher concentrations than they would be in more typical methods.

Farriba said one local student used a vape device with THC — the active chemical in marijuana — at school before collapsing to the floor and requiring medical care. The student was then arrested for possessing the illegal drug.

She said there have been instances of middle school and even elementary school students admitting to using vape products locally.

"It's real. It's a problem. And we're seeing it," Farriba said.

She also noted that the content of the vape products isn't the only danger, as there have been multiple incidents of devices catching fire or exploding. She show photos of one teen with burns on his lips, check and nose, another of an adult with a severely burned tongue and lips, and another of a teen in intensive care after a device exploded, causing damage to his airway.

She also pointed out that medical professionals have seen an increase in "popcorn lung" cases, when hard nodules form in the lung, as a side effect of the chemicals associated with vape use.

Farriba said her main goal is education, and that she wants to teach students that not only are the known and unknown chemicals used in the devices dangerous now, but they can affect young users in the long run too because the human brain is still developing during one's school years.

"What you're doing now, what you're doing to your body, it will affect your future," she said.

Ansley Silvers, director of addictive disease at Highland Rivers Health, also spoke during the lunch, and she explained that by the time she interacts with anyone they are already in the later stages of addiction.

Silvers explained that while people make choices that lead to addiction, no one chooses that outcome or uses a substance with that as the end goal. She referenced how prohibition of alcohol led to bootleggers making their own booze, an increased demand and an increase in alcoholism and deaths.

Silvers said substance abuse has always been a problem, that opioids and vaping are just the latest thing.

"It's always going to be something, because what we're dealing with isn't chemicals, it's the brain," she said.

She explained that brain development and drug use follow a similar upward trend in teenagers as they get older, and for addicts, that the brain eventually flips a switch and decides getting that next fix is more important than anything else.

Silvers lamented the stigma often associated with addiction and said people shouldn't be looked down upon for seeking treatment.

On the dangers of teenage drug use, Silvers shared the story of her son Alex's best friend Ben, a bright young man who had a full ride college scholarship and a good job working in information technology.

Alex and Ben had made some money investing in bitcoin and had ordered online a drug called U-47700 that was then shipped to their door in an Amazon box. The synthetic opioid was legal at the time but has since been added to the list of Schedule 1 drugs.

"They both took one. My son lived and Ben died," Silvers said, adding that Alex continues to live with the guilt.

She also talked about a rash of incidents in an Elijay high school where 17 students required treatment after vaping a synthetic marijuana-type drug, one of which passed out, then tried to ripped out his own tongue after regain consciousness.

Silvers stressed that help is available and that people shouldn't be afraid to seek it. She talked about the services Highland Rivers Health offers and noted that if someone doesn't qualify for assistance there that they use their contacts to make sure the person is served elsewhere.

"What I want to say is, there is help, and there is free help for those who qualify," said Silvers.

She said recovery is possible, but like cancer treatments, there is always a chance that the problem will return. But, she said, she would rather see someone seeking help a second time than learn they had died or been sent to prison.


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