Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Ronald Jones

First NameRonald
Last NameJones
Year of Conviction1989
Year of Exoneration1999
State of ConvictionIllinois
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape and Murder
Death SentenceYes
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeBlack
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Defense argued that defendant signed confession in order to stop police from abusing him.

Did the defendant testify at trial?Yes
Quotes from Exoneree Testimony

Defendant testified that he was beaten during interrogation: “[The officer] asked me, he said, are you going to tell me what I want to know or not. I said, I don’t know what to tell you. So, he swung me upside my head with the black object.” Q: Did you kill [the victim]? A. No, I did not. Q. Why did you tell [the police officers interrogating you] that you did? A. Because it seemed like the only way he was going to stop beating me.”

Types of evidence at trial
  • Confession
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
Were non-public facts alleged?Yes
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Serology
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Invalid
Reason why invalid(1) Masking
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

Jones was an O nonsecretor. Vaginal swabs exhibited A antigens and the victim was a Type A secretor. The analyst testified that the relevant percentage was the percent of nonsecretors added to the percent of A secretors. In fact, no donors could be excluded. See Part II.A.1 for a description of the problem of masking and non-quantification and discussion of similar cases.

Identity of eyewitness
  • Non-victim
Multiple eyewitnesses2
Lineup Procedures
  • Lineup
  • Photo array
Suggestive Procedures

No because Acquainted, and no evidence of suggestion in line-up used for victim in prior case

Unreliable Identification?


Examples of Non-Public or Corroborated Facts and Inconsistencies

● Location of crime scene in abandoned hotel ● Location of blood stains ● Victim was stabbed ● Described victim’s appearance BUT He claimed victim was a prostitute who had propositioned him and pulled a knife on him.

Quotes from law enforcement testimony

“We went into the Crest. We went in through the back door. We went into the first floor and he showed us the room – he showed us the room that they went in to have the sex and also showed us where the struggle took place and where she was actually stabbed. And while we were in there he said that he also remembered stabbing her more than once and showed us also the same window, that they came in was a window that he had jumped out of.”

Quotes from prosecution arguments

“We claim, and the evidence shows, that his statement is not the truth. His statement is not the way it happened.” “The Defendant says he was taken back to the Crest Hotel because they were showing him what happened. If they were showing him what happened, why isn’t it in here? If that was the reason for taking him back there, why weren’t there details about what room it was in and where the blood was or anything like that? . . . He knew about the Crest Motel, Hotel. He testified he knew the area. They knew he knew the area, so why are they going to show him something he already knows about?”

Interrogation RecordedWritten and signed confession statement
Highest level reachedAppeal
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Coerced Confession
  • Fourth Amendment
  • Improper Capital Sentencing Instructions
  • Jackson Claim
  • Jury Instructions
  • Prosecutorial Misconduct
  • State Law Evidence Claim
Harmless Error Rulings
  • G
  • HE
Citations to judicial opinions

People v. Jones, 620 N.E.2d 325 (Ill. 1993)
Jones v. Illinois, 511 U.S. 1012 (1994)

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