A Harlem native who has been behind bars for 19 years for murder is hoping that the witness whose testimony helped to get him jailed will now help set him free, the New York Daily News reports.
A Queens court initially convicted Robert Jones (pictured) in the killing of Antoine Stone, a street preacher in the Far Rockaway section of New York City in 1994. He has repeatedly insisted that he wasn’t the killer. Recently, a judge ordered a hearing to reevaluate evidence in the case.
The woman who initially singled out Jones as Stone’s shooter is expected to testify Monday that officials told her to do so. They also told her to do the same on the witness stand, she claims.
“I told them, ‘I never seen this guy,’ ” the unidentified woman said in an affidavit.
However, Queens prosecutors support Jones’ conviction, noting the jury voted to send Jones to prison.
“We would urge anyone interested in learning the actual facts of the case to attend the hearing,” said Helen Peterson, a spokeswoman for Queens D.A. Richard Brown. “We are confident that justice has been served in this case.”
Thomas Hoffman, who is Jones’ lawyer, noted that after Stone had been shot, he said, “I was preaching to a drug dealer on a bike and he shot me.” However, Stone never identified Jones–who was his lover–as his shooter.
“He is very hopeful and faithful that these chains are going to be broken and he’ll be free,” said Gertrude Jones, Robert’s sister.
Jones, who is serving a 25-to-life sentence, is expected to be eligible for parole in 2019. Writing from prison, he revealed that he has suffered substantial losses while behind bars, including missing out on his 19-year-old daughter’s life.
“I have lost both of my parents while in prison. Nevertheless, my silent prayer is to rebuild my life,” he said.