Trial date set for alleged leader of U.S. 280 killings

By BRAD GASKINS / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – A Shelby County judge on Tuesday set an Oct. 31 trial date for the man accused of being the ringleader in the brutal torture-killings of five men at a U.S. 280 apartment complex in August 2008.

Circuit Judge Dan Reeves set the trial date during a status conference for Christopher Scott Jones, who is charged with two counts of capital murder.

Jones, wearing an orange jumpsuit and a belly chain, said nothing during the conference.

Authorities allege Jones was one of six men who killed five other men at Cahaba Lakes apartments, located off U.S. 280, on Aug. 17, 2008 over $450,000 in missing drug cartel money.

The victims — Angel Horacio Vega-Gonzalez, 23; Gustavo Vega-Gonzalez, 24; Ezequiel Rebollar-Terevan, 23; Jaime Echverra, 30; and Armando Ibarra Mendoza, 31 — had been tied up and their throats had been slashed. They were also beaten and electrocuted.

Shelby County District Attorney Robby Owens previously said Jones led the killings.

“It’s our allegation that he (Jones) was the person that was essentially in charge of making these particular things occur,” Owens said previously.