CHARLESTON (AP) — A former Charleston firefighter currently involved in a lawsuit over a deadly furniture store fire is accused of trying to hire an undercover police officer to kill his wife.
On Wednesday, a judge denied bond for Edward Clinton Jones III, 41, on a charge of solicitation of murder.
According to authorities, Jones approached a man and asked him if he knew someone who would be willing to kill his wife. Jones allegedly told the man he wanted his wife killed because she was planning on leaving him and moving to Delaware with their children.
The man went to police and later met with Jones and an undercover officer, whom authorities say Jones offered to pay $8,000 to “finish off” his wife.
Jones worked for the Charleston Fire Department for 19 years, according to police, and court records listed no attorney for him. His wife said in court Wednesday that Jones has been depressed since the fire.
Jones is currently involved in a lawsuit against Sofa Super Store over a fire that claimed the lives of nine firefighters on June 18, 2007. Jones, who took early retirement after he said panic attacks and anxiety left him unable to work, says he suffered physical and emotional injuries from the fire.
The complaints also fault the store and its owners for allegedly installing highly flammable roofing and ceiling products and storing highly flammable furniture and other materials without adequate fire safety systems, like sprinklers.
The Charleston fire is thought to have been started by discarded cigarettes in a loading dock. Fire experts hired by the city concluded that inadequate training, outdated tactics and aging equipment contributed to the deaths.