A long-standing Conway businessman credited with building the Cadron Valley Country Club was released from jail on Friday after police arrested him for assaulting a once prominent, now disbarred local attorney.
James W. Miller, 74, of the 3300 block of Miller's View said Friday night he had wanted to hit Guy Jones Jr. with a two-by-four for 40 years before he actually did it shortly before 5 p.m., Thursday.
According to a report released on Friday at Conway Police Department, Miller entered Jones' yard at 3300 Nob Hill Drive and confronted the 63-year-old about Jones' contractors washing out their concrete chute on a lot owned by a third party. The report said Miller became enraged when Jones called him an expletive and told him to "get off (his) property," before Miller picked up a 3-foot-long two-by-four and began swinging it at Jones, who was incarcerated in the 1990s after run-ins with the IRS.
"The first couple swats at me scared me, because it was at my head," Jones said. "But they didn't hit me in the head, because I ducked. There was an 18-foot-long two-by-four lying on the ground, so I picked it up, and the next swing that came was coming at my head again. I moved, the two-by-four blocked it and he got me in the legs.
"I then dropped my two-by-four, grabbed my phone and said, 'That's it Miller. It's cop time.'"
Jones and Miller both said Friday that their grudge dates back to a Conway Twitty concert that took place in 1962 at Miller's Swim Club, now known as the Briarwood club, which Miller owned from 1960 to 1976. Jones and Miller both gave conflicting accounts of the '62 dispute, but neither denied that Jones told Miller he was going to "whoop him" that night.
The two now live in the same neighborhood in northwest Conway.
Miller said over the phone Friday that he was trying to prevent damage to land in the Nob Hill subdivision, which he had a hand in developing.
"(Jones) was pouring a concrete slab, and when his dump truck drivers got through he told them to go up there on Nob Hill Drive and just dump it out on the hillside out there right by Miller's View, which is the main street up on the very top," Miller said.
"So when I come in from work right about 4 or 5 (p.m.) I saw his concrete truck up there, and I've caught one (truck) up there before and asked them not to do dump there, so I pulled up there this time and I told him, 'Now, I've asked you people not to do it. I asked your other drivers not to pour up here.' They said, 'Oh, Mr. Jones told us it would be all right.'
"I said, 'Well, Mr. Jones don't own anything but that one little dinky lot he's got with that $80,000 house sitting on it.' I said, 'He's hurt Nob Hill more than anybody else up here by building that little ol' piece of junk.' Anyway, I told him, I said, 'If you don't mind, don't do it anymore.' (The driver) said, 'I won't. I promise you.'"
Miller admitted he made a mistake by pulling up onto Jones' property without being invited, and he admitted to striking Jones in the leg with a two-by-four. According to police, Jones used another board to block several swings, though the officer reported bloody contusions to Jones' knees.
"(Witnesses) reported that Miller was the aggressor and Jones made no attempt to harm Miller," CPD Lt. James Lee wrote.
Miller said he "tried to shake hands with (Jones) after the battle was over."
"Mr. Lee, the lieutenant for the police department, was standing right there when I put my hand out and tried to get (Jones) to shake it and end it all right there. (Jones) said, 'No sir, this ain't gonna end right here.' He's just that way. He's just that hard."
Jones, who was a lineman for the Arkansas Razorbacks in the early '60s, said Friday he had to restrain himself from punching Miller.
"I normally take care of my own problems," Jones said.
"But I'm looking at Jim Miller, who's not in the best of health, and I could just see me punching the fella, and him dying. And what am I gonna do then? I really don't want any trouble with the law. The only thing I want is to be left alone. Ninety-nine percent of my history is my own fault and I don't blame that on anybody, but my history in the last 48 hours that's not on me. That is wrong."
Miller, who was released Friday afternoon on a reported $5,000 bond, was arrested on suspicion of felony aggravated assault and felony battery. Miller's attorney, Frank Shaw, said Friday after talks with the prosecutor's office that Miller will be charged at the misdemeanor level. Miller has pleaded not guilty.
In Friday's interview, Miller said, "I didn't mind to spend the night in jail, because I've never been in jail in my life, and I thought, 'Well, before I die I'd just like to spend one night in jail.'
"But before the night was over, I wish I'd never had."
(Staff writer Daniel Doyle can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1253)
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