Exonerated, but still not free Joe Jones was the first person in the state to be exonerated of a crime by DNA evidence, but life after prison has been difficult. Now authorities have identified the man they say is responsible.
Victim, wrongly accused man each seek resolution
In April 2012, Joel Russell was charged in the rape that sent Joe Jones to prison. Jones says he can’t get the years he lost back, but perhaps can move forward with his life. Prosecutors are unsure if they can prosecute Russell. And an open letter from the victim of the 1985 rape.
Intersecting lives: A serial rapist and an innocent man
Joe Jones, a Topeka man wrongfully convicted of a 1985 rape, and others involved with the case, talk about learning the true suspect's identity almost 27 years later.
Now that authorities have charged a man for a 1985 rape that sent Joe Jones to prison, he’s hoping to move on. But questions remain about prosecutors’ ability to take the case to trial.
By no choice of his own, Joe Jones’ life has been intertwined with Joel Russell’s for nearly three decades.
Editor’s note: The victim in the wrongful conviction case of Joe Jones has been in contact with the Journal-World since October. She has expressed gratitude for the articles about the case, and their role in reopening the case, leading to a DNA profile match. However, the woman has expressed frustration, at times, with the coverage and a lack of information from her point of view. While the woman declined a Journal-World interview request, she provided this letter.
There’s an unknown number of such evidence kits across the country — all with the key to solving other cold cases — that sit untested, as in the Russell case, said Scott Berkowitz, president of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.
- Similar crimes, similar places April 27, 2012
- Timeline: The intersecting lives of Joe Jones and Joel Russell April 27, 2012
- Documents in the cases of Joe Jones and Joel Russell April 26, 2012