In 1992, shortly after accepting a proposal from her boyfriend, English holidaymaker Julie Stott was shot in the head and arm at close range during an armed robbery. It was part of a spree of similar crimes carried out by the same perpetrator that April in New Orleans, a man with a distinctive car who treated all of his victims in the same brutal way. 19 year old Robert Jones was one of the first young men picked up and questioned by police for the crime.
Eventually, the New Orleans PD targetted another man – Lester Jones, no relation. His car matched the description of that seen at the crime; a gun found at his apartment was confirmed to have been the one used to kill Julie Stott; he was wearing jewellery taken during another armed robbery only minutes before the murder; and had previously served nine years for armed robbery. Lester Jones was eventually tried and found guilty of Julie Stott’s murder.
Meanwhile, Robert Jones remained in prison, suspected of the same crime up to and after Lester Jones’ trial. Eventually, New Orleans PD decided to charge Robert Jones with the murder that Lester Jones was already on prison for committing.
A BBC investigatory team headed by Aleem Maqbool, which paralleled work being done by The Innocence Project in the US, put together this podcast which tells the story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03bmp0b
(If the podcast is ever taken down, you can play or download it by clicking here.)
Links to further information:
- BBC News: ‘Robert Jones: Locked up for 23 years – when the real killer had already been jailed’
- The New York Times: ‘Justice Gone Wrong in New Orleans‘
- The Innocence Project New Orleans: ‘Innocence Project New Orleans Client to be Released Pending Retrial’