An innocent man, who was exonerated and released after spending 18 years in prison, died 10 months later in December of 2016.
Luther Ed Jones Jr., 71, was released in February 2011 by Lake County Superior Court Judge Andrew Blum when the district attorney brought forth new evidence that exonerated him. Jones was convicted in 1998 of molesting his ex-girlfriend’s 10-year-old daughter.
“The young woman, who had been the alleged victim in the case, contacted the district attorney’s Office on Feb. 9 to say that her mother — who at the time the case arose, was locked in a custody battle with Jones over a young child they had together — had coerced her into making the molestation accusation against Jones,” reported Elizabeth Larson in the Lake County News.
Blum ordered the immediate release of Jones a week after the young woman’s testimony.
After gaining his freedom, Jones was repeatedly hospitalized, raising concerns that he would die before his compensation case was awarded for his wrongful conviction. His attorney Angela Carter said that would have meant the compensation process would have ended, and Jones’ family wouldn’t have been able to pursue it.
The Lake County News reported that Jones ultimately received $936,880 from the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board for being wrongfully imprisoned for 6,692 days from Oct. 22, 1997, to Feb. 17, 2016.
District Attorney Anderson told reporters he will not bring charges against Jones’ ex-girlfriend, whose daughter made the allegations, because too much time has elapsed to succeed with criminal prosecution.
“(Jones) will live on as an example of the effects of injustice and an inspiration to those of us who have an interest in righting wrongs and making sure that the justice system doesn’t turn innocent people into its victims,” Carter said.
Jones died surrounded by family members, including son Ko’Fawn Jones, who became his father’s caretaker after his relea