Guilty plea to a reduced charge

The first of a half dozen men arrested in a Seneca restaurant parking lot crime last winter has seen his case resolved in the court of General Sessions. A plea of guilt to a reduced charge of assault and battery third degree netted Montrez Obrian Jones a 30-day jail sentence, with credit given to time served. Jones and five others were arrested and charged with assault and battery by a mob,as part of a Seneca police investigation of the beating of a Franklin, North Carolina man during the early morning hours March 17 outside Applebee’s Restaurant. At the time of arrest, Seneca Police Chief John Covington said the investigation disclosed racial factors as a contributor to victim’s beating and a copy of the investigative report was being sent to the FBI for a review of whether the case qualified as a hate crime under federal law. The defendant, represented by court-appointed attorney Suzanne Earle, entered the plea and submitted to sentencing July 26.