Wrongfully Convicted Man Wilbert Jones Released From Prison
Wilbert Jones After serving 45 years in prison for a rape he did not commit, Wilbert Jones is officially a free man.
Via CBS News:
Jones, now 65, was 19 when police arrested him on suspicion of abducting a nurse at gunpoint from a Baton Rouge hospital’s parking lot and raping her behind a building on the night of Oct. 2, 1971. Jones was convicted of aggravated rape at a 1974 retrial and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The judge who overturned his conviction has called the case against Jones “weak, at best,” noting that authorities withheld evidence that could have exonerated Jones decades ago.
“Most of my life was taken away from me for something I didn’t do,” Jones said, moments after stepping outside a free man for the first time this century.
“I feel wonderful and I thank God for this opportunity,” Jones said. “And I thank God for this legal team.”
The non-profit Innocence Project New Orleans has represented Jones since 2003.
Jones said his plans for the day included enjoying a long-awaited meal of gumbo and potato salad with his family. His brother, Plem Jones, said he’s always known this meal would come.
“I might have missed (only) one or two visits while he was there. We’d sit and talk and cry together,” Plem Jones said. “I never gave up on him. I knew that he didn’t do it, so it was only a matter of time. I just didn’t know when.”
Though Jones credited his faith with helping him persevere, he admitted the decades spent in prison as an innocent man were not easy.
“It’s been very difficult, I mean…very difficult,” Jones said.
See video below.
Despite everything he’s been through, Wilbert holds no resentment for the years of his life that was stolen from him.
He simply said, “I forgave and I forgive.”
God bless him.