After spending 18 years in prison for a murder he claims he didn't commit Dewey Jones of Akron will be getting a new trial. The Ninth District Court Of Appeals today upheld a lower court ruling granting Jones a new trial for the 1993 murder of Neil Rankin, a 71-year old Goodyear retiree. He was discovered shot inside his Independence Avenue home near Chapel Hill Mall on Valentine's Day.
In 2012 Summit County Common Pleas Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands ruled that the absence of Jones’ and another suspect Gary Rusu’s DNA on newly tested evidence “called io question the State’s entire theory of the case.”
Jones, 50, was convicted in 1995 for the murder. He has always claime he did not kill Rankin.
Tests revealed DNA taken from a rope used to tie Rankin's wrists, and a knife found at the scene, do not match Jones.
News Release From Attorney Carrie Wood of The Ohio Innocence Project
Statement of Attorney for Dewey Jones on the Ninth District Court of Appeals’ Decision Upholding the Trial Court's Decision to Grant Dewey Jones a New Trial
“We are pleased that the Ninth District Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court to grant Dewey Jones’ a new trial. Mr. Jones has spent more than 18 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. In 2012, the trial court held that the DNA test results 'call[ed] into question the State's entire theory of the case' and 'undermine[d] the testimony of the State's witness, Willie Caton' because '[t]he DNA does not support, and in some instances, works directly against, the testimony of Mr. Caton.' The Ninth District Court of Appeals agreed, stating that the 'only testimony at trial that directly implicated Mr. Jones in the murder came from William Grant Caton' and both DNA test results and ballistic results 'bear on the reliability of Mr. Caton's testimony...'. Informant or "snitch" testimony, like Caton's, has played a role in approximately 15% of the now more than 300 people exonerated by DNA testing in the United States.
DNA test results are just one piece of evidence that demonstrates Dewey Jones' innocence. Whether DNA test results produce an exoneration or a new trial, today's decision affirms the importance of DNA testing's role in demonstrating innocence.”