July 17, 2017
In the spring of 1992, Robert Jones was arrested for a series of attacks that occurred in the French Quarter of New Orleans, which included the murder of a British tourist, the kidnapping and rape of a woman, and the robbery of her fiancé and friend. He was arrested because the rape victim identified his photo, and she and her fiancé identified him in a lineup. Robert had been attending his son’s birthday party at the time of the rape, and the other victims of the crime spree had declined to identify him as their assailant, but despite his alibi and the lack of evidence linking him to any of the other crimes, he was charged with the rape and a role in the murder. Lester Jones (no relation) was later arrested and charged for the crime spree after police found him in possession of the gun used in the murder, stolen property from the other crimes, and the car used in all of the crimes. Robert, however, remained in jail after Lester’s arrest. At trial, the prosecutor argued that Robert and Lester were friends, without any evidence to connect them. Robert was sentenced to life in prison, and he accepted a plea deal, which additionally resulted in his unbeknownst confession to an unrelated robbery from February 1992. Robert requested DNA testing for his case, but all of the evidence was either lost or destroyed. In 2015, after 23 years behind bars the Innocence Project New Orleans was able to get Robert released from Louisiana’s State Penitentiary, Angola on the basis of prosecutorial misconduct and missing evidence and he was completely exonerated on January 26th, 2017, his 44th birthday. In this episode, Robert is joined by the Director of IPNO, Emily Maw.