A sentencing hearing was delayed after prosecutors told a judge they believed the former Little Rock officer facing a prison term lied Friday when he took the stand.
Mark Anthony Jones, 46, was set to be sentenced Friday morning in U.S. District Court in Little Rock after pleading guilty to a single drug charge in exchange for six other charges being dropped.
Jones and his half-brother, Randall Tremayn Robinson, 39, were accused of escorting what they believed to be a 1,000-pound marijuana shipment across the city while on duty in 2012.
During the sentencing hearing Friday before U.S. District Judge James Moody, Jones took the stand and admitted escorting the shipment. But, he said, he did so only because the informant who was secretly working with authorities owed him $6,000 from a comedy show Jones helped organize in Little Rock and that he had never done anything illegal previously.
"I wanted my money," Jones said. "And I wasn't thinking right. I used bad judgment on what I did. But I wanted the $6,000 he owed me."
Jones went on to say he had an excellent record as a police officer and was "darn good" at that job. He said his time in law enforcement never included sending an informant to investigate someone who hadn't committed any previous crimes.
"I ain't never heard of that," Jones said. "I take full responsibility for what I did. But I shouldn't be here."
After a short recess more than an hour into the sentencing hearing, prosecutors said they wanted to continue the hearing because they believe Jones committed perjury. Prosecutors said they wanted to review the day's transcript, but it came during Jones' discussion on meeting the informant and how the topic of marijuana came up.
Moody said officials would work to finish the sentencing hearing next week, but no date was set.
In Robinson's trial in July, a jury deadlocked on charges tied to the drug escort in LiIttle Rock, though he was convicted of distributing a half-pound of marijuana in 2009.
Prosecutors on Friday earlier asked Moody not to figure Jones' acceptance of guilt into his sentencing range because he offered conflicting statements after his guilty plea about the drug escort, making it impossible to call him as a witness in Robinson's trial.