Mary Virgina Jones, now 74, was released from Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, California yesterday for a murder committed over 32 years ago by her boyfriend.
For years Jones maintained that she “did not willingly participate in the crime.” Her case was picked up by the University of Southern California’s Post-Conviction Justice Project.
They challenged the controversial case asserting that Jones’ boyfriend, Mose Willis, kidnapped two drug dealers and forced the woman to drive to an alley, where he shot both men. One of them was killed.
“She ran down the alley fully expecting him to shoot and kill her, too,” said Heidi Rummel, co-director of the Post-Conviction Justice Project and the supervising defense attorney on the case.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
A week before the murder, Willis shot at Jones”s daughter, Denitra Jones-Goodie, and threatened to kill both of them if they contacted police, according to defense attorneys.
“He pulled a gun on me and shot at me, and my mother witnessed that,” said Jones-Goodie. “And he threatened to not only kill me but to kill her and anybody else that came to our aid.”
Willis was sentenced to capital punishment but died waiting on death row.
Mary Virginia Jones' case is not uncommon. On March 11, Glenn Ford who had been on death row for 30 years was released from a Louisiana prison for a murder he didn't commit.
"After 30 years, Louisiana's longest-serving death row prisoner will get his freedom soon," Amnesty International USA senior campaigner Thenjiwe Tameika McHarris said in a statement shortly before his release.
"Glenn Ford is living proof of just how flawed our justice system truly is. We are moved that Mr. Ford, an African-American man convicted by an all-white jury, will be able to leave death row a survivor."