MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The trial for a man accused of killing his estranged wife is officially underway. Both sides began opening arguments Wednesday morning.
Heather's cousin, a police officer, and two investigators took the stand to testify for the prosecution. Diane Perry, Heather's cousin and childhood best friend, told the jury that Heather and Chris were in the process of finalizing their divorce when she went missing.
"She was so happy, she was happy to be away from him," Perry said.
Perry became emotional on the stand as she read the last email she received from Heather, the Friday before she went missing.
"OMG I'm so creeped out that he [Jones] snuck in and stole my phone. Have I just lost it? How has he hacked my gmail again?" Perry read.The following Monday when Heather didn't show up to school where she worked, police, friends and family began searching for her.
Chris Jones was brought in for questioning by Germantown Police Department. The jury watched a redacted version of the 4-hour interview in which Jones continually referred back to an e-mail that he says Heather sent him after 11 p.m. the night before she disappeared.
It read, in part, "Come get Ava. I cannot take this. Please raise them to remember me."
At the time, Jones told investigators that Heather may suffer from bi-polar disorder and that she had been drinking and may have been unstable. He said when she didn't respond to texts, he drove to her house where he found the door unlocked and their daughter inside. Heather was nowhere to be found.
Officer Joshua Vest with Germantown Police Department also took the stand on Wednesday; he spoke about his interactions with Chris Jones.
"I said, 'If you knew your wife was missing, why didn't you call police?' He stated, 'This is the game we play,'" explained Vest.
At that point in the investigation, Jones had not confessed to killing his wife and police continued the search for her.
There was testimony on Wednesday from several other witnesses, including friends, detectives, and Heather's counselor, who said Chris was trying to manipulate him into convincing Heather not to divorce him.