WAVERLY, Ohio — A disgraced former politician from Upstate New York who had been a fugitive for decades after failing to appear at his sentencing for illegally selling guns, has been arrested after being found living under an assumed identity in Ohio, authorities said.
William L. Jones, the former supervisor of the town of Mentz, skipped town in 1997 after failing to appear at a sentencing hearing for his conviction for illegally selling guns.
Jones, now 71, was located after a police officer in Waverly, Ohio spotted him limping along a road and took him to a local hospital, the Cayuga County Sheriff’s office said.
The officer grew suspicious when Jones was unable to produce any idea and after further questioning, determined he was William Jones, a wanted fugitive out of New York.
The Cayuga Sheriff’s office said it appeared Jones had been living in Ohio for some time under a fake identity.
Jones was found guilty 23 years ago of illegally selling eight handguns after his pistol permit was suspended by a judge. He was free on $20,000 bail when he fled before sentencing.
Jones had been ordered to surrender the guns after being convicted the year before of official misconduct as town supervisor. But he instead sold the weapons. While awaiting trial in the earlier case, Jones also disappeared for nearly a month before surrendering to authorities.
His official misconduct conviction stemmed from his failure to pay two highway department workers in October 1996. He claimed at the time that paperwork had not been properly filled out by their boss. After his first conviction, Cayuga County Court Judge Peter Corning suspended Jones’ pistol permit.
After selling the guns, Jones was convicted of criminal sale of a firearm, a felony punishable by up to a short state prison sentence. But while out on bail awaiting sentencing, Jones fled again.
He wouldn’t be found again until resurfacing by the side of the road in the middle of Ohio.