Hearing ordered for Louisiana man serving life sentence for 1971 rape
BATON ROUGE - A man serving a life sentence for the 1971 rape of a nurse is getting a court-ordered hearing to determine if authorities withheld evidence that could exonerate him.
In January, Innocence Project New Orleans attorneys had asked the Louisiana Supreme Court to order a new trial for Wilbert Jones. Instead, the justices voted 4-3 for a district court judge to hold a "full evidentiary hearing" on Jones' claims he was denied a fair trial.
Chief Justice Bernette Johnson wrote Friday that she is "gravely concerned" evidence in the case may have been misplaced or prematurely destroyed before DNA tests could be performed.
Jones' attorneys claim authorities concealed evidence another man raped the woman who had been abducted from a Baton Rouge hospital's parking lot.