Louisiana man to be freed after 1971 conviction tossed
BATON ROUGE- A Louisiana man will be freed after nearly 50 years in prison for a rape conviction recently thrown out by a judge who concluded authorities withheld evidence.
State District Court Judge Richard Anderson overturned Wilbert Jones' conviction on Oct. 31, saying the case against him was "weak, at best." He also says authorities withheld evidence that could have exonerated Jones decades ago.
Anderson scheduled a hearing Tuesday to hear arguments over whether Jones should be released. Defense attorneys' want Jones released immediately or freed on "minimal" bail.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore's office asked the Louisiana Supreme Court to review the judge's decision.
Jones, now 65, was 19 when police arrested him on suspicion of raping the nurse in 1971. Anderson said authorities concealed "highly favorable" evidence that the crime was committed by another man linked to two similar attacks.
Anderson set Wilbert Jones' bail at $2,000. One of his lawyers expects him to be released Wednesday.