Murder suspects plead not guilty in 2016 Jackson shooting

JACKSON, Tenn. — Two men charged in a deadly shooting at a west Jackson apartment complex pleaded not guilty Monday.

“Do you understand the nature of these charges?” Madison Circuit Court Judge Kyle Atkins asked. “Yes, sir,” Cornelius Jones said.

Cornelius Jones and Cedric Evans appeared Monday in Madison County Circuit Court for arraignments. They’re both charged with first-degree murder and being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun.

“I’m going to enter a not guilty plea for you at this time,” Jones aid.

Judge Atkins entered not guilty pleas for both men. They’re accused of gunning down Mondarrius Miller in Jan. 2016 at The Villages at Old Hickory Apartments. Evans and Jones talked and smiled in court.

Both defendants told the judge they plan to hire their own attorney. “How much time do you need to hire a lawyer?” Judge Atkins asked. “At least a month, that’s it,” Evans said.

Evans also asked the judge for a transcript of his preliminary hearing. The judge told him to file a formal motion. “I can’t just let you practice law by asking questions if I make everybody else file the proper motions,” Judge Atkins said.

Evans and Jones are both scheduled to return to court at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 6.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation records show Evans and Jones both have lengthy criminal arrest records that include drug, assault and attempted murder charges.