Louisiana Man Exonerated After 46 Years For Rape, Kidnapping Conviction

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Wilbert Jones was fully exonerated this week of a 1971 rape case.
Paula Rogo Oct, 13, 2018

A Louisiana man, who was wrongfully convicted of rape in 1971, has now been exonerated after spending 46 years behind bars.

Wilbert Jones, who is now 65, was released on bail from Angola prison last November after District Judge Richard Anderson overturned the conviction. The judge argued that the case built against Jones had been weak.

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But it was only this Thursday that Baton Rouge prosecutors officially dismissed charges against him, The Advocate reports.

“I feel great,” said Jones.

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Jones was accused of the kidnapping and rape of a nurse from a Baton Rouge hospital, the Associated Press reports.

“Mr. Jones was exonerated today after 46 years and nine months wrongly charged with a rape he did not commit,” attorney Emily Maw of the Innocence Project New Orleans said in a Thursday news release. “His conviction was not reversed on a technical legal issue.”

The Innocence Project New Orleans has been working on Jones’ case since 2001. In court, they presented that the victim had told police she was not 100 percent certain about picking Jones in a lineup. Jones’ lawyers also showed evidence indicating that the rape might have been the work of serial rapist, but this relevant information was never given to Jones’ lawyers back then.

The Louisiana Supreme Court also rejected a request to review the case by prosecutors, leaving the lower court decision intact.