SPRINGFIELD — Jury selection will continue Thursday for the drug trial of Melvin Jones III.
Jones, 36, is on trial before Hampden Superior Court Judge John S. Ferrara on a charge of possession of PCP with intent to distribute from a June 2017 arrest.
In 2012, Jones won a $499,000 settlement in a civil case involving Springfield Police Officer Jeffrey Asher, who in a separate criminal case was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in jail for assaulting Jones. The assault was filmed by a woman trying out her new camera, and the video was later obtained by The Republican and posted on MassLive.>
Massachusetts SJC rejects former Springfield police officer Jeffery Asher's appeal of 2012 assault conviction
The court rules that despite errors in the judges instruction to the jury, it did not affect the final outcome with the verdict.
Weeks after his legal victory, however, Jones was sentenced to three years in state prison in a drug trafficking case. In a second case, he was placed on probation on a domestic assault charge. In 2017 he was sentenced to six months in jail for violating probation.
In the case on trial now, Jones is charged as a subsequent offender. Jones was charged after a traffic stop on June 23, 2017, Ferrara told jurors.
Ferrara, Assistant District Attorney Kerry A. Beattie and defense lawyer Aliki Recklitis questioned about 75 potential jurors sequentially at the judge’s bench in the all-day jury selection session Wednesday. Ferrara wanted 14 jurors to allow for two alternate jurors in case any juror needed to be excused before 12 were selected to deliberate.
There were 12 selected by the time the jury pool was depleted. Ferrara said two more will be selected Thursday and the trial can begin. He gave each side six challenges that they could use without giving a reason.
Jurors were told it would be a short trial, with the expectation that deliberations would start Friday.
A city lawyer, at the time Springfield settled with Jones in 2012, said the money was split into two components: $275,000 to a structured settlement company and $300,000 to Jones’ lawyers.
Under the structured settlement, Jones was to receive $1,028 monthly for 30 years beginning Sept. 14, 2022, with the last guaranteed payment on August 14, 2052. In addition, he was to receive six lump payments in five-year increments beginning Sept. 14, 2017, totaling $129,084. Through the structured settlement, with compounded interest over time, it totals $499,164. Jones was represented in the civil matter by Holyoke attorney Shawn P. Allyn and William Newman, director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.