April 6, 2007
AUGUSTA, Ga.---A Richmond County high school teacher was found dead yesterday outside his home, which was burned to the ground in what investigators believe was a cover-up.
Richmond County fire investigators say the fire started in two spots in the Tobacco Road home, leading them to believe it was set on purpose.
Long-time educator Danny Jones, known to most around town as the "chicken man" for the birds he kept, was found beaten to death, lying face down just 25 feet away from his back door.
"He was just an honest, down to earth, straightforward person...but he sure didn't deserve none of this," said Jones' longtime friend Frank Williams.
Lt. GB Hannan with the Augusta Fire Department says he believes Jones' home was set on fire to try to cover up a crime.
"I think something happened in the house and Danny crawled outside," Williams said.
Just a couple hours after the fire was set at the home, 56-year-old Paul Franklin Blevins was booked in the Richmond County Jail for driving under the influence, having an open container and several other traffic related charges.
After that arrest, investigators put it all together, and connected him to Jones' death.
Officers say Blevins not only had bloodstains on his clothes but was also driving Jones' stolen pickup truck.
Williams says Jones hired Blevins to do odd jobs around the house but fired him last year after he was caught stealing.
"Danny caught him stealing chickens, selling them to people when he wasn't home and stuff," Williams said. "Danny would leave him over here when he wasn't home to take care of the stuff, and he come to find out he was stealing, selling his chickens."
And now the same man Jones tried to help is accused of murdering the man he once called his friend.
Jones was a world history teacher at Hephzibah High School. He taught freshmen and sophomores. Before he worked there, his friends say he was the headmaster at Edmund Burke Academy.
We're told the reason why Jones had so many chickens at his home is because he sold them and traveled across the country to show them.