Local News

Former death row inmate wants prosecutor scrutinized

Posted May 5, 2008 2:00 p.m. EDT
Updated May 5, 2008 8:52 p.m. EDT

— 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."