Angola inmate’s family: the wrong Jones is in jail

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More than a dozen protesters marched on Orleans parish criminal court Thursday morning in support of a man they say was wrongly convicted of rape.

Robert Jones has been locked up in Angola, convicted of robbing, kidnapping, and raping a woman in the French Quarter 21 years ago.

Friends and family say they believe a different Jones committed those crimes: Lester Jones, no relation to Robert, who is now serving time for a lengthy crime spree in the Quarter that took place at about the same time Robert Jones was accused of the rape in 1992.

Relatives say attorneys in then-D.A. Harry Connick’s office, knew they might have been prosecuting the wrong Jones, but they withheld that information to get a conviction.

Robert Jones’s relatives say that Lester Jones was found wearing jewelry that had been stolen from the woman who was raped, but that information was never shared with the jury in Robert Jones’s trial.

Robert’s aunt Denise Spencer says, “There’s so much crime, and we want people to go to jail for those crimes, but we want the right people to go to jail. My nephew is not the right man.”

Two weeks ago, Robert’s relatives asked Judge Keva Landrum-Johnson to give Jones a new trial. She is expected to rule on that request, within the next six weeks.