NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The Orleans Parish District Attorney's office today dropped the charges against a New Orleans man once convicted of a high-profile murder, rape and robbery.
Robert Jones had been found guilty of the 1992 murder of British tourist Julie Stott, as well as other crimes against other victims in the French Quarter.
An appeals court vacated the conviction in 2014 after finding prosecutors had withheld exculpatory evidence. Jones was allowed to bond out while he awaited a new trial. Jones left Angola Prison in 2015. He'd been there since 1996.
Today, the D.A.'s office announced it would not seek to re-try Jones.
Assistant D.A. Christopher Bowman released a statement that reads in part, "it is difficult to retry any case that is more than two decades old. The office, unfortunately, has concluded that it cannot at this time retry a complex case such as this." It goes on to read, "to this day, this victim is certain that the defendant was her attacker. If the District Attorney has any regrets about this case it is that he was unable to provide a full measure of closure to a strong and heroic woman who suffered a brutal violation. If there is a real tragedy here, then that is it."
Jones left Orleans Criminal Court today a free man.
"I didn't think that this could actually happen to me. But when I was found guilty of crimes I didn't commit, it devastated me to the extent of, totally destroying my faith in the criminal justice system as a whole. But nearly 25 years later now, I stand here, in this position now. What was done today was justice. It gives me hope in the criminal justice system as of justice being served," Jones said.
The District Attorney's Office said today's proceedings did not exonerate Jones.