The man charged with the Feb. 4 murder of a Prairie Township resident waived his scheduled appearance in Franklin County Municipal Court Wednesday, March 12.
Brian Lee Jones, 41, is charged with aggravated murder and aggravated burglary in the death of 49-year-old Paul D. Devitt, whose body was discovered Feb. 4 under a trailer in the Hayden Heights mobile-park home in Washington Township.
Judge Ted Barrows set bail for Jones at $300,000.
Jones' last known address was in Hilliard. He has been in custody at the Franklin County jail since he was arrested Feb. 6 on charges of tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, and theft, a fourth-degree felony, after he was found in possession of Devitt's missing 2007 Chevrolet Suburban. The more serious charges of aggravated murder and aggravated robbery were added later.
Devitt's wife, Wendy, said after Wednesday's hearing that her husband had driven Jones several times to bars in Hilliard and to doctor's appointments.
Devitt started a car service called Hilliard Hometown Taxi in 2010 and later changed the name of the business to Black Car of Columbus.
"The detectives interviewed (Jones), and he made statements that have been determined not to be truthful," Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott said on March 11. "Our investigation determined that (Jones) provided false statements, and all our follow-up interviews led us back to same place ... that Jones is solely responsible for the robbery and murder (of Devitt)."
The sheriff's office received multiple 911 calls about 7:40 p.m. Feb. 4, reporting a body outside and under a trailer at the Hayden Heights mobile-home park, 5501 Cosgray Road, in Washington Township. The body later was determined to be Devitt's. His vehicle, keys, wallet and cellphone were stolen.
Columbus police searching for the vehicle discovered Devitt's Suburban about 1 a.m. Friday, Feb. 7, in the parking lot of America's Best Value Inn, 1313 St. James Lutheran Way, near the Hilliard-Rome Road and Interstate 70 interchange, according to Columbus police Sgt. Richard Weiner. The vehicle was found about two miles from Devitt's home and about 10 miles from the suspected murder scene.
Columbus Dispatch reporter Kathy Lynn Gray contributed to this story.