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Jones could be tried for murder before robbery

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Governor’s warrant seeks to extradite murder suspect to Virginia before he stands trial for a N.C. bank robbery

By SHAINA STOCKTON and CHRISTOPHER BROOKE, Staff

The boyfriend of a 33-year old Fries woman who was found dead after she was reported missing a month earlier is being extradited to Grayson County to face murder charges, but there’s still a question of exactly when the accused will return to Virginia.
Matthew Steven Jones, 35, who was the boyfriend of Desia Rae George and the father of her youngest child, has been held in North Carolina on bank robbery charges since May of last year.
In October 2013, he was charged with George’s murder in Grayson County court through a direct indictment.
A report last year from Grayson County Commonwealth Attorney Doug Vaught stated that Jones would not be tried in Virginia until after his bank robbery trial in North Carolina. However, a new report confirms that he could be transported to Grayson County within the next few days.
According to Capt. Derrick Hill of the Investigation Division of the Randolph County (N.C.) Sheriff’s Office, the department received warrant from Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell to extradite Jones to Virginia on Dec. 19, 2013.
Hill explained that the murder charge has been given a higher priority in the courts, and that the two states will decide together on how the bank robbery charges will be handled.
Although the warrant has been issued and the transfer could be happening in a matter of days, Hill noted that nothing has been finalized yet, due to the fact that Jones will have the option to fight the extradition.
“If he chooses to fight, there will be a hearing where Virginia authorities will explain why they are requesting the transfer,” Hill said, adding that the decision to fight an extradition is a rarity.
“I’ve never had a suspect fight the decision before,” he said.
Grayson Commonwealth’s Attorney Doug Vaught confirmed Wednesday that Virginia has sent the governor’s warrant involving Jones to the Randolph County Jail in Asheboro, N.C.
But North Carolina officials can choose to continue to hold Jones until they wrap up court proceedings on their charges, he added. Because North Carolina is holding Jones, it could still be awhile before the accused returns to Grayson County for the murder trial here.
“They haven’t told us to come get him yet,” Vaught said.
Jones became a person of interest after Desia Rae George was reported missing on April 16, 2013. He was reportedly the last person to see George before she disappeared.
Jones was compliant with local officers at the beginning of their search for George, but soon disappeared from the area.
On April 29, Jones was arrested outside a pawn shop in Asheboro, N.C., where he is from. He was charged in connection with the robbery of a Fidelity Bank branch in Ramseur, as well as financial card fraud and unauthorized use of a vehicle, according to Ramseur police.
After a month-long, area-wide search eventually uncovered George’s body in the Brush Creek section of Grayson County on May 22 — only 10 miles from her home in Fries —  the case shifted to a murder investigation.
Jones was held in Randolph County as investigations in Virginia continued.
George’s badly decomposed body was identified at the Virginia Department of Forensics Science lab by dental records, investigators said. No cause of death has been released.
Due to the ambiguity of Jones’ extradition, no trial date has been set in Grayson County at this time.