05/25/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Tara Monks // Tara Monks
Baltimore, MD – A man who was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and sentenced to life in prison ten years ago had the charges dropped on Tuesday, May 25, 2010, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Tyrone Jones, 33, was granted a new trial in January because a single-page police report that revealed potentially exculpatory evidence was not revealed during his original trial.
In 1998, Jones, a Texas college student who was home on summer break, was accused of killing a 15-year-old boy. A jury found him not guilty of the shooting, but did find him guilty of conspiring to participate, based on witness identification and a gunshot residue test. A single particle of GSR was found on Jones’ hands.
The witness, who picked Jones out of a photo lineup, reported to police minutes after the shooting that he had not witnessed any suspects. This small but crucial detail made the photo ID and Jones’ conviction ungrounded.
This piece of evidence was also not reported in the trial.
The Circuit Judge at the time, John Prevas, told Jones at the end of his trial, “This is an extremely vexatious case… This is only one of about four in my career that I have said to the defendant, ‘You know a jury of your peers has convicted you, and I have to sentence you as though you did it. But if you can come forward with any evidence that demonstrates that you did not do it, I will be more than happy to set you free.’”
Lawyers made several attempts to free Jones over the past ten years, mainly based on the GSR evidence. His attorneys claimed that the test was unreliable, stating other chemicals can be mistaken for residue and that it can be transferred easily, such as from handcuffs to hands.
Judge Gale E. Rasin agreed to the new trial on January 29.
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