Mary Virginia Jones, a 74-year-old woman, was released from prison on Tuesday after spending 32 years in jail. She went to jail on the account of a murder that her ex-boyfriend committed back in 1981.
The release from Lynwood County Jail for Women in California was granted a bit after midnight, and Jones was greeted by a few of her family members. When asked about here newly found freedom, Jones answered, “I feel great, I’m just hungry.”
Jones was convicted of robbery, kidnapping, and first-degree murder. She was freed from jail due to the USC Post-Conviction Justice Project, wherein her conviction was challenged since she was a battered girlfriend. Students from the project also said that Jones wouldn’t have been convicted if the jury only heard expert statements on the results of partner battering.
Mose Willis, Jones’ then boyfriend, forced her to drive a car that carried two drug dealers that he had kidnapped. He asked Jones to drive into the alley where he shot them. After the shooting, Jones ran away from the scene, as she was expecting Willis to kill her as well.
Just a week before the shooting, Willis threatened Jones and shot at Denitra, her daughter. He threatened to kill them if they attempt to contact the police.
Willis was convicted of shooting two of the drug dealers and killing one of them, and was sentenced to death. However, he died while on death row.
Jones was in court on Monday and pleaded the judge to exchange her murder charge with no possibility of parole to voluntary manslaughter with time-served sentence.
Voluntary manslaughter has a maximum sentence of 11 years, and Jones has already served a total of 11,875 days.
Her request was granted, but it took a couple of hours before she was released due to incomplete paperwork.
After her release, Jones said that what happened to her was a miracle and she thanked God. “God does everything in His time. Not when I want Him to, but in His time.”
USC Post-Conviction Justice Project
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