An Ohio judge recently dismissed charges against a man who had served almost 20 years in prison for murder.
Dewey Jones of Akron was convicted in 1995 for the 1993 robbery and murder of 71-year-old Neal Rankin. Throughout his prison sentence, Jones maintained that Rankin was a family friend and that he had no connection to the man’s murder.
“The truth is the truth, and it always comes out,” Jones said after it was revealed his charges would be dropped.
Jones' trial was reopened after new testing technology found his DNA did not match evidence at the scene, Fox News reports. DNA found on the knife used to cut the rope that tied Rankin’s hands together as well as the DNA found on Rankin’s bloody shirt did not match that of Jones. The DNA tests also indicated that another unknown individual was present at the scene during the murder.
The charges against Jones were dropped at the request of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, which wrote in its motion that “the available state of the evidence in this matter would not support a conviction.” According to News Net 5, evidence has deteriorated and certain witnesses have died since the case began.
Although Jones was freed from prison, he is not completely exonerated.
“The state will continue to pursue any potential investigatory leads into this murder, which could lead to the re-indictment of the matter at a future date,” the Attorney General’s motion reads.
Despite the possibility of a future investigation into the murder, Jones had a positive outlook when asked about his immediate plans following his release.
“I’m going to go take a bath. 20 years taking showers, I want to slide into a bathtub and soak,” Jones joked.
Jones’ release was made possible by The Innocence Project, a national organization that helps wrongfully imprisoned individuals seek exoneration through the use of new DNA testing technology. The organization already has successfully released hundreds of individuals that had been given lengthy prison sentences for crimes they did not truly commit.