Remember the story we reported earlier about gold, the dumpster and the landfill? Now, more details have emerged that the gold-dumping Colorado man beat his wife, and that’s what set the divorce into motion.
As reported in the Colorado Springs Gazette newspaper, Earl Ray Jones, 52, is facing a Nov. 4 sentencing in Teller, Colorado County Court for assaulting his wife of 25 years last spring. According to court documents, the couple fought about finances and Jones “beat up” his wife and “held her captive” in their Divide, Colorado home. Jones filed for divorce in April, and in May, raided the couple’s life savings, and converted the money into gold, which he claimed he threw into a trash bin behind a weekly rate hotel he moved into after the couple separated. The bullion, worth $500,000 and reportedly weighing a total of 22 pounds, made its way to a local landfill where it was buried under tons of trash. Jones, working as a defense contractor for Excelis, an aerospace information services company, resigned from his job after losing his government security clearance in the wake of the assault charges, according to court records. Jones has been held at the Teller County jail since his conviction in September.
According to John-Paul Lyle, his wife’s attorney, the woman was left “destitute” by the marriage’s breakup and moved to Virginia to live with relatives. Lyle said his client, a former schoolteacher, is unable to work due to the lingering effects of the assault, including a diagnosis of “post-concussion syndrome.”
According to the Gazette, Jones first claimed he disposed of the couple’s savings at a June divorce hearing. A county magistrate ordered him to pay $3,000 a month in damages to his estranged wife, but she hasn’t seen any, court records show.
Despite Jones’ claims, there is no concrete evidence he actually threw out the gold bars in multiple trips to the dumpster behind the hotel. There were no eyewitnesses at the hotel, nor has any gold been found at the landfill. A supervisor at the waste collection company that serves the landfill told the newspaper that although the trash is collected regularly, no one noticed anything fishy.
“I didn’t have any drivers walking off the job with a smile in May,” Waste Connections’ garbage truck manager Rick DiPaiva told the Gazette.
A Colorado Springs divorce attorney, Phil Dubois, with no connection to the case, heard the news and scoffed. “Based on normal human conduct, one would believe that it’s out there somewhere,” he told the Gazette. “And he knows where it is.”
If Jones’ story is true, the allegedly buried treasure could become the center of a lengthy court battle. According to a spokesman for the Colorado Springs company that manages the landfill, anything sent to a landfill becomes the property of the landfill. But, in the case of a pending divorce, legal experts say, a husband couldn’t lawfully dispose of his wife’s assets, and she may be legally entitled to claim her share if it is ever found.
Only time will tell what glitters in this case.
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