Lebrew Jones, who has served more than two decades in prison for a New York City murder he has always said he didn’t commit, will be released on parole in November.
The state Board of Parole considered Jones’ application yesterday and announced that he would be released in November after 22 years behind bars. His conviction is under review by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, and evidence of innocence developed by his attorneys and an investigative news report were included in his application for parole.
The Innocence Project has consulted on the case with Jones’ pro bono attorneys at the Davis, Polk and Wardwell law firm. The case was reopened after an award-winning investigation by the Times Herald newspaper uncovered substantial evidence that Jones didn’t commit the 1987 murder for which he was given a sentence of 22 years to life.
Jones maintained his innocence before the parole board, and included in his application was a letter from Lois Hall, the mother of the victim in the case who has become convinced of Jones’ innocence.
"Oh my God, I'm so happy," said Hall, upon hearing he will be released. "The only sad part about this is he had to do 22 years — 22 years for something he never did."
Read the full story here
. (Times Herald-Record, 07/24/09)
Attorneys are continuing to investigate Jones’ case and to seek DNA testing on biological evidence collected from the crime scene, but some of the most critical evidence has not been located.
The Innocence Project has called in the past for improvements in evidence preservation and storage practices in New York City. Between 1996 and 2006, 50% of New Your City cases closed by the Innocence Project
were closed because of lost or destroyed evidence
. In 2006, evidence in
case was located after being reported destroyed for eight years. The tests exonerated Newton and he was freed after 22 years in prison.
Explore the Times Herald-Records’ multimedia site focused on the Jones case