He Spent 28 Years Behind Bars for Murder He Didn't Commit

Barry Lee Jones is now free in Arizona
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2023 1:00 AM CDT
Man Spent 28 Years Behind Bars for Murder He Didn't Commit
Stock photo   (Getty Images / Michal Chodyra)

An Arizona man who spent 28 years behind bars insisting he was innocent has finally been freed after authorities agreed with him. Barry Lee Jones, 64, was released from prison Thursday after a judge threw out his 1994 murder conviction in the death of his then-girlfriend's 4-year-old daughter, the Washington Post reports. Angela Rene Gray found the little girl, Rachel Yvonne Gray, in her bed unresponsive in May 1994 and Jones, who lived with them, drove them to the hospital, NBC News reports. The child was declared dead on arrival and the cause was determined to be a bowel laceration due to blunt abdominal trauma. Jones was questioned for five hours, charged, and convicted that same year. He was ultimately sentenced to death.

Federal public defenders who ultimately received the case, however, found that Jones was only alone with the girl for a short window of time during which he could not have caused her fatal injuries, and that authorities did not investigate other suspects or look into whether the injuries had been caused prior to the time she was under Jones' care. The Arizona Attorney General's office independently reviewed the case, and said that while the first-degree murder conviction should be thrown out, a second-degree murder conviction was supported since the child was under his care and he did not seek medical care for her on the night before she died. An agreement between Jones' lawyers and prosecutors led to a deal in which his original convictions were tossed and he pleaded guilty to a second-degree murder charge; he was given credit for time served. (Read more Arizona stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.