Local News

Former death row inmate wants prosecutor scrutinized

Posted May 5, 2008

— A former prison inmate who was released Friday after 15 years on death row says the district attorney who won his 1993 conviction needs to be prosecuted himself.

"That justifies the law, and that makes the law fair, and that brings justice upon all," Levon "Bo" Jones said during a news conference Monday. "And the people that come after him – that teaches them also to obey the law. You've got a case, you don't have sufficient evidence? Don't prosecute the case."

Jones was sentenced to death in 1993 for the slaying of Leamon Grady, a bootlegger who was robbed and shot in his Duplin County home in 1987.

A federal judge overturned the conviction in 2006, declaring poor attorney performance had violated Jones' rights. District Attorney Dewey Hudson planned to retry Jones on May 12, but decided to drop charges after a key witness – Jones' former girlfriend, Lovely Lorden, who was the only witness accusing Jones of the murder – recanted her story.

Hudson said Friday he still believes Jones was involved in Grady's death and that Jones "received a fair and just trial and that he was rightfully convicted."

"I've always been innocent, still innocent," Jones said Monday. "(I) always will be innocent. And that's the way I carry from this day on."

Jones's attorney, Ernest Connor, said his client was a victim of a problematic justice system.

"He was poor, and he was of color, and that made him far more likely to get a death sentence," Connor said. "And that's exactly what happened. He and his family are a victim of this justice system, and we all need to just recognize that there are inherent problems."

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  • NC Reader May 6, 2008

    "Have to patrially agree with you NC reader, but I say if there is no doubt then snuff them out. If someone broke into your home and raped and killed your daughter would you fell the same way?"

    As I posted before: "Do I think that the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment for a cold-blooded murderer? No. I think it's actually pretty easy punishment and they deserve worse." I can't imagine circumstances that would cause me to feel differently.

    As far as whether the state should put itself in the role of executioner, it (we) must act less with emotion than with logical, rational thinking. By taking on the role of executioner, the state is putting to death people (most of whom deserve it) in the name of the citizens, even citizens who are against the death penalty.

    As for child rapists (whom you referred to): I suggest that we just put them in the maximum security prison population with everyone else. You know what happens to those people.

  • Dr. Dataclerk May 6, 2008

    This is the very reason one should not be so "quick" to judge. All evidence should be there and credible witnesses. If you do not have the evidence and witnesses, don't have a trial until you do. Meanwhile the person is in jail or out on bond. This is a shame that an innocent man spend most of his life on death row. Now that he is a free man, I hope he stays away from anything that is criminal and just simply wrong. He knows what it was like being in prison and on death row at that, why would he do everything and go back there. It will be his choice now, good or bad.

  • silverado32 May 6, 2008

    It's always about color. You know they are going to play the race card. You were convicted murder because you were guilty. A man was killed in his home and he had nothing to do with the killing. His former girl friend the only witness recanted her story. I think he got a fair trail. A jury convicted him. This judge needs to look again.

  • Tax Man May 5, 2008

    I think the prosecutor, the police and the lying witness here should all be prosecuted - maybe even the judge - for obstruction of justice and bearing false testimony - perjury. You should not be able to get a death penalty conviction on one witnesses statements alone - if not corroborated by at least one disinterested witness or hard (not circumstantial) evidence, then the death penalty should not be available as a sentence. I fully support the death penalty, but now would want DNA proof! T

  • cynsless1 May 5, 2008

    Have to patrially agree with you NC reader, but I say if there is no doubt then snuff them out. If someone broke into your home and raped and killed your daughter would you fell the same way?

  • NC Reader May 5, 2008

    This situation should have everyone questioning the death penalty. It shows that an innocent man could possibly be put to death. Whether or not this particular man did the crime, there is too much room for error. Do I think that the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment for a cold-blooded murderer? No. I think it's actually pretty easy punishment and they deserve worse. However, the possibility of someone innocent being convicted, plus the fact that killing someone who killed kind of puts the state down on the killer's level, makes me think we'd be better off just putting them away forever (unless they get out like this man did).

  • freddie cadetti 72 May 5, 2008

    The DA's and police rushed to judgement on my brother as well. Although they dismissed the case for lack of probable cause, he still had the expense of lawyer fees, $100,000.00 bond, 4 nights in jail, and he never even was at the scene of the alledged crime. Here's why it commonly happens:

    The police get funding , grants and such based on "arrest" and "case closed" records, whether they result in conviction or dismissal. They rush in before gathering all the fact, don't even share information with the others at the crime scene, slap the person in jail under a high bond, and go home. And don't think it has anything to do with race or position. My brother is white and has lived in the same town all his life. Then we go back and try to get the police and DA to arrest her for malicious prosecution and false arrest, and they turn their back. They botched it, and don't have the integrity to admit it.

  • clickclackity2 May 5, 2008

    Bo, the Dail guy and the Duke Lacrosse players...they all have the same thing in common, except the ones with the most financial support were vindicated. And Pike Mom...I hope you post the same '15 mins of fame comment' on every Duke Lacrosse lawsuit story. Economic status plays a extraordinary larger part than race.

  • iwideopen May 5, 2008

    Just pray that you are not one of the unlucky ones that end up getting rail roaded like this guy. Case in point -- If those lacross guys had been poor then innocent or not those guys would be in jail right now.

  • Reason May 5, 2008

    Quick! Everyone! Get out your race card!!!!

    Bluegrl45: the defendant is the one that said something about little or no evidence...I'm sure in his opinion (wink) that there wasn't enough evidence. Too bad the jury of 12 disagreed. Like Hudson said, he's guilty of something.

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