But 74-year-old Mary Virginia Jones (pictured above right), who served 32 years in prison for a murder she didn’t commit – is now a free woman; thanks to a couple of law students from USC.
I say give these students an honorary degree!
In 1981, Jones was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for murder, kidnapping and robbery in a fatal shooting.
But apparently it was Mose Willis, her boyfriend, who committed the crime.
Jones had been a churchgoing woman who worked as a teacher’s aide before the incident. She had never had problems with the law. When she met Willis, he was homeless, and she took him in because he told her that he wanted to clean up his life.
On this fateful day, it was Willis who actually kidnapped the two men. He then ordered Jones – at gunpoint – to drive a car to a back alley in Los Angeles, where he shot them.
Jones’ conviction was overturned when some law students at the University of Southern California’s Post-Conviction Justice Project challenged her case, claiming she would not have been convicted if the jury had heard expert testimony about the impact of intimate partner battering, (formerly known as battered women’s syndrome).
The Los Angeles District Attorney’s reviewed the case again and agreed to set aside her convictions if she plead no contest to voluntary manslaughter.
Jones told the judge, “I did not willingly participate in this crime, but I believe entering a no contest plea is in my best interest.”
She was given credit for the time that she already served, and ordered released from prison amidst the elation of family and supporters. Her children say they’re just looking forward to sitting down at the dinner table with their mother for the first time in more than three decades.
Thanks to BlackNews.com for excerpts used in this article.