National News

Mar 25, 2014 9:19 AM

Wrongly Convicted Woman Walks Free 32 Years Later

LOS ANGELES - After 32 years behind bars, a California woman walked out of prison a free person this morning.

Mary Virginia Jones was jailed in 1982 after she was convicted of first degree murder.

But Jones didn't actually commit the crime, and thanks to the work of students at the University of Southern California the judge allowed Jones to plead no contest to a lesser charge and be released from prison.

Shortly after walking out of jail this morning, Jones said she feels great but is hungry.

It was 1981 when Mary Jones was forced at gun point to drive a friend to a crime scene where he murdered a drug dealer. She was convicted of first degree murder without the possibility of parole. But her history of being abused by the killer was not fully taken into consideration.

Denetra Jones-Goodie, Jones' daughter, said "He pulled a gun on me and shot at me and my mother witnessed that. You know she witnessed that and he not only threatened to kill me but to kill her and anybody else that came to our aid."

The USC post conviction project took on Jones' case.

After a new investigation, the District Attorney agreed to set aside her murder conviction in exchange for a no contest plea to voluntary manslaughter.

The judge then ordered her released from prison based on time served.

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