AKRON, Ohio - After 17 years in prison for murder, Dewey Jones will get a new trial in Summit County.
Jones’ motion for a new trial was granted by the Summit County Common Pleas Court Tuesday based on new DNA evidence.
Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands wrote in her decision that the absence of Jones’ and another suspect Gary Rusu’s DNA on newly tested evidence “calls into question the State’s entire theory of the case.”
Jones, 50, was convicted in 1995 for the 1993 murder of Neal Rankin, a 71-year-old Goodyear retiree, who was discovered shot inside his home on Valentine's Day in Akron's Chapel Hill area.
The DNA Diagnostics Center of Fairfield conducted the DNA tests. They showed DNA taken from a rope used to tie Rankin's wrists and a knife found at the scene do not match Jones.
Rowlands said that evidence also undermines the testimony of State witness Willie Caton that Jones and Rusu went to Rankin’s house to rob the man and Jones shot him.
“This newly discovered evidence calls into question the credibility and reliability of Mr. Caton’s testimony, and combined with the absence of any DNA supporting his testimony, requires this Court to grant the motion for a new trial,” Rowlands wrote.
The Court denied the defense’s argument of prosecutorial misconduct as grounds for the new trial.
Jones’s daughter Ashley told NewsChannel5’s Bob Jones in May that her father believes he’s innocent.
In one of his letters to his daughter, Jones wrote, "I've always knew God was going to bring out the truth. I just never thought it would take as long as it has been. I'm looking forward to the day the truth comes out and they set me free and I can see all my children."
Jones is the father of eight children.
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