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Bakersfield man released from prison 21 years after being wrongfully convicted

"I’m lost for words right now"
DWIGHT JONES September 10, 2021
Posted at 10:23 PM, Sep 10, 2021

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — September 11 is a day Americans will never forget including Dwight Jones who was wrongfully convicted of murder on that date back in 2000. Decades later, Jones is now out of jail.

On September 11, 2000, Jones’ life changed forever. In the days leading up to the 21st anniversary of his wrongful incarceration one organization helping him get his life back.

“Every letter I wrote, it said, Dwight Jones is an innocent man,” said Jones

Jones was wrongfully convicted of a double homicide and four accounts of attempted murder. According to Loyola Project for the Innocent (LPI)

Jones was sentenced to life without parole for the 1999 Casa Loma shooting, a gang-related, drive-by shooting, he did not commit.

“Being mad at them is not going to change anything. So, I’d rather just put the past behind me and move forward looking toward tomorrow and the next day,” said Jones.

While he was originally sentenced to die in prison Jones can look forward to the next day. Thursday, he walked through the gates of the Lerdo Pretrial Facility in Bakersfield a free man.

“It’s the joy of seeing someone finally walk out into freedom, into their loved one’s arms, where they should have been, decades ago, to see them actually dressed in normal clothes, outside a prison uniform, being able to see them eat actual meals and sleep in an actual bed,” said Megan Baca LPI Senior Staff Attorney,

For the past four years, Baca was on the team working on the team reinvestigating Jones’ case.

“From all the witnesses we’ve spoken to, we spoke to the actual perpetrators of the crime, we spoke to the victims of the crime, we spoke to a number of alibi witnesses, we got sworn declarations, 15 alibi witnesses, he’s absolutely innocent,” said Baca.

On September second thanks to their work, the Kern County Superior Court vacating Jones’ conviction, sentencing him to time served, and ordering his immediate release.

“Right now, I’m still shocked, I’m lost for words right now,” said Jones.

One thing Jones said kept him going through it all was reading his bible.