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by Jocelyn Pagan
(June 30) Judge John Lewis Marks will experience a role reversal today when he sits in his Harrison County courtroom not as presiding judge but as a spectator in a felony case in which he is a victim.
John Jones Jr. allegedly threatened Marks' life after appearing in his courtroom. A pre-trial motions hearing in the case will take place today in Harrison County Circuit Court.
Jones of Water Street in Clarksburg was charged with intimidation of a judicial officer when he allegedly threatened to kill Marks and several local attorneys in February 1997.
According to circuit court records, Jones was scheduled to appear in Marks' courtroom in February about an appeal in another case from magistrate court. Jones became impatient after the court proceedings did not begin immediately and decided to leave the courthouse, according to records.
"Mr. Jones was a bit excited and was complaining he was tired of waiting on the Judge," said bailiff Michael Hinton in a statement to court officials. "I tried to explain that Judge Marks was running a little behind. Mr. Jones said, "I'm leaving. That (expletive) has cost me $150 today. I can't wait no longer. I'm leaving."
Hinton said in his statement that Marks was discussing Jones' case with one of the prosecuting attorneys.
"When I went back to tell Mr. Jones, he had left the building," Hinton said.
Jones reportedly followed his attorney, Patricia Dettori, an attorney with James Pool, back to her office in the Goff Building. He began to complain about his wait and demanded Pool be his attorney, according to records.
Dettori told court officials that Jones said he had a pistol and would kill Marks. She also said he threatened secretary Dina Criss, saying he would kill them all. Jones then allegedly left a message on Marks' voice mail complaining about the day's events, cursing and saying, "Don't send me no messages because I'm not coming back in your (expletive) court."
Circuit Judge Fred Fox II of Marion County is scheduled to hear the case.
The state Supreme Court ordered Harrison County Judge Thomas Bedell to recuse himself from the case.