Ella Mae Gregg


Curtis “Pickle” Jones was barricaded in his aunt’s house when it went up in flames from police tear gas -- and after his twenty-two-year reign of terror, he was burned to death. On that October day of 1994, like most folks in Newport, Tennessee, Ella Mae Gregg was there to witness Pickle’s end.

By that time he had committed more than twenty rapes or attempted rapes. Since he reportedly held all these women at knifepoint, threatening their lives if they were to “tell,” probably countless other rapes by Pickle Jones had not been reported. Using three aliases, he went on to terrorize victims in Florida and North Carolina as well as in Tennessee. There were reports of killings that were not proven.

There was far more to Pickle Jones. As a child, because he was the eldest of six, he took care of his brothers and sisters. As a young man he wanted people to think well of him. He was nice-looking, had several lovers, and over the years married three times and fathered three children. He provided well for his wives and children (although he robbed occasionally, as the extra money always came in handy), was active in church, and because he was attractive and funny he had no shortage of friends.

It was important to Pickle that the police knew “it was him.” When he was caught, his father, who worked for the state, used his influence to get lighter sentences for Pickle.

This is a story about a family’s dysfunction; the story of Pickle’s other personality, “Henry”; the story of a court system failing to control a repeat offender, a community embracing and even enjoying a known felon; and the story of a law enforcement office that could handle the problems of “Pickle” only by burning him to death.

The book is also about the victims, and how Pickle haunts them to this day. The author has interviewed many people whose lives were touched by him -- victims, relatives, prison guards, cellmates, detectives. She has visited the prison where he escaped, toured his escape route, has pictures, and has trial transcripts. Her narrative voice reflects the vernacular of the Tennessee hills.

Christian, Inspirational

True Crime, Expose’
Women’s Issues

Nonfiction, Book-length
Nonfiction, Short

General Fiction

Western/Historical Fiction

Christian Fiction
Science-Fiction, Fantasy

Children’s Books, Stories
Young Adult, Youth